Clinton unveils plan to fix mental health care

  1. Millions of Americans struggle with mental illnesses, and many within the healthcare industry maintain that community resources for their care are limited. Now, Hillary Clinton is calling for the mental and physical spheres of healthcare to coordinate to put “the treatment of mental health on par with that of physical health.”

    The proposal calls for expanding early intervention in mental illness; a national initiative to prevent suicide, which kills more than 40,000 Americans a year; increasing training for police who are called to the scene of a mental health crisis;providing mental health care for non-violent offenders to help them avoid going to jail for minor offenses; and investing in brain and behavioral research to develop better treatments.
    For more details on this story, go to Clinton rolls out plan to improve mental health care; Clinton proposes better integration of physical, mental health services

    We can all agree on the need for greater priority placed on improving mental health care, but what are your thoughts on this particular proposal? You are welcome to discuss any mental health proposals from the Clinton and Trump campaigns, but please keep your comments on topic and centered around how to address mental health issues. Off-topic comments will be removed.
    Last edit by allnurses on Aug 31, '16
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  3. by   heron
    I like the basic idea but I think NIMBY is going to kill it.

    Off the top of my head:

    I worry that law enforcement officers will wind up being expected to be therapists. I'm not talking about respect for basic human rights - that's non-negotiable. They're always going to have to navigate situations with mentally ill citizens, but I think we have to get away from jails and prisons being the only available option for getting a mentally ill person into a safe setting where s/he can't hurt her/himself or anyone else.

    I think that the proposal would require the redesign and rebuilding of the infrastructure we used to have, along with new provisions for emergency care and outpatient care options.

    It was the outpatient piece that killed us in Massachusetts back in the seventies/eighties. De-institutionalization was a thing. We closed almost all our state hospitals - and there were some really good reasons to do that. (Not the least of which is that it freed up a lot of prime real estate.) It did wonders for the state's budget.

    The problem occurred when it came time to actually implement all the halfway houses, treatment centers and transitional programs. Suddenly, there was no money and local communities were unwilling to take on the presence of a lot of people with iffy behaviors - including substance abusers and people with impulse control issues. Here's where police and EMS training is critical, I think.

    I also suspect that privatization will be the business carrot built into any relevant legislation just to get the votes for passage.

    Fair warning: I'm no fan of privatization - the private sector has a poor record in this area and I have a problem with giving fraudsters yet another government teat to suck.

    Put all that together with the fact that it will be expensive and the mentally ill are one of the most disenfranchised groups in the electorate, I think we won't see such a program any time soon.
    Last edit by heron on Sep 7, '16
  4. by   hppygr8ful
    The sound bite says nothing about how she plans to "Fix" the mental health system. To me this is just another piece of election year hype. The fact is the problem has no easy fix because by and large no one cares about the mentally ill until someone with a mental health issue shoots up a school or movie theater. Oh sure there's plenty of public outrage then and calls to bring back state institutions and increase spending, but no one really does anything because like Heron said mentally ill people as a general rule don't vote. Also there's NIMBY it's all well and good to build facilities to house mentally ill people but no one wants one in their neighborhood.

    Nothing will change in the care and treatment of the mentally ill until there is a fundamental change in the way society as a whole looks at these people. Having spent the balance of my nursing career with this population and having read the statistics carefully you are far more likely to be struck by lightning or eaten by a shark than you are to be hurt or killed by a mentally ill person.

    The attitude shift has to start with the people already providing care and that means nurses. Mentally ill people are not just in mental hospital's they present in all care situations. They get sick and need care just like so called "Normal" people. Every time I read on this site about a nurse raging about how needy, manipulative and horrible mentally ill patients are I cringe inwardly. I would never in a thousand years have thought I would end up working with the mentally ill but I love every day I go to work. This population is special and dear to me and I hate to see them being used as a political bargaining tool.

  5. by   carolinapooh
    Heron, that is precisely what's happened/happening in NC.

    Happygr8ful, I admire anyone who can work with the mentally ill. I can't; I feel sorry for them and that is NOT what they need. You have my absolute respect for what you do and I'm so very glad you're so passionate about doing it. And thanks.