How Mental Health Affects the American Creed

This essay discusses the lack of mental health care available to Americans, and why it is vital for the American Governmental systems to provide adequate services to help all Americans, no matter how diverse.

By Erin H. from Royal Oak High School in Michigan

     Although it doesn’t seem like much of a big deal, mental health affects many many American people. Especially children growing up in today’s age. We are one of the most developed nations in the world, and yet we still severely lag in mental health care. How can this be? This is most likely because of the policies that were set into place leading up the mental health crisis we currently have going on now. If we are to continue to provide a safe well being for all of the American people, we need to improve our mental health care systems to provide services and make them available or accessible to those who need it.

     As more and more of my life progresses, I meet more and more individuals with mental health issues.  Until recent years there has been little to no advocacy for mental health care, and in addition to this, America’s mental health care system severely lags due to the previous policies that were set into place. This issue is a rising one that I think requires more attention. According to the American Journal of Law and Medicine, “Despite rapid growth of mental illness, mental health coverage has not been expanding to meet the increasing demand for treatment”. This is followed up by statistics that state 28% of the US population has a diagnosable mental illness, whereas only 8% revive treatment for it. That is an astonishing number of people with illnesses left untreated. You wouldn’t want 20% of your population to be walking around with an incurable illness, would you? Nevertheless, that is what is currently happening to the hundreds of Americans who can't pay for mental health treatment services.

   While it may seem insignificant, mental health affects so many of us in so many ways. Everyday those with mental health deal with little insignificant, it can have a big impact on you. We can also relate to the issues of stress, and overwhelming emotions at some point in our lives. Now imagine having to deal with issues like those every day. Not only this, but mental health disorders in families that are in need have even a bigger significance.

     While researching for this project, I stumbled upon some interesting information about mental illnesses in LGBTQ+ Communities, as well as immigrant communities. These two groups for some reason felt specifically targeted and neglected by mental health care providers. It seems that many people were referred to therapists and mental health specialists that were not helpful to them; whether it be because of personal or monetary reasons.

     For example, many immigrants who can’t speak English or have had specific issues with PTSD from their home country, can't receive the services they need, or, even when they did receive these services, they didn’t meet standards or expectations. A quote from expresses this. “Gateway providers--and the mental health providers to whom they refer migrants--may lack knowledge about diverse cultural contexts and the meanings that forced migrants assign to mental health problems. This may affect forced migrants' access to services and motivation to continue treatment, leaving them with unresolved, yet treatable, psychological problems.” Minorities in America have continuously been disregarded and degraded for many years, and we are still dealing with the stigmas and stereotypes of the past. It is time for America to start stepping up and providing the services that their diverse Americans especially need. Therapists and other mental health care providers need to have open communication in order to thrive together. No one wants to receive treatment that isn’t helpful to them, and no one wants to give unhelpful treatment. By opening and creating an understanding conversation about mental health care, individuals will be able to receive adequate treatment that they need.

     If we want to have a nation of understanding and inclusivity, we need to start advocating for those who are diverse and have mental health. If not, we will be living in a world where no one is accepted for being themselves, and where no one can revive basic health services for them and their family. Mental health is an issue that affects many Americans deeply in many different ways, so this is an important set of issues to solve today. 

Royal Oak High School

AP Lang 2019

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Writing Our Future: American Creed is part of the National Writing Project’s family of youth publishing projects, all gathered under the Writing Our Future initiative.

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