Mental health refers to the ability of the brain to perform cognitive activities and to forge and maintain relationships with other members of the society. Mental health gives a sense of self worth. It is a basic requirement for one to make informed choices and live a fulfilling life.
Mental illnesses on the other hand are the conditions that inhibit the normal functions of the brain; such conditions include depression, anxiety disorder, and Bipolar disorder.In America, the situation of mental illness is so evident across the country; but of major concern are the rural areas. These areas experience higher rates of depression and other mental disorder as compared to their counterparts in the urban areas.
The main activity of the rural America is farming and crisis that emerges from the cyclical farming and natural disasters as well as being isolated from the rest of society tends to worsen the stress levels. The high numbers can be attributed to lack of facilities and or inaccessibility to those few facilities (Gamm & Hutchison 2003, p.209).
It has been documented that less than a third of the homeless Americanpopulation suffers from severe mental illness. These individuals are the most vulnerable to drug abuse, sexual violation and other forms of exploitation and stigmatization. Many psychiatric institutions in the United States were closed over four decadesago; citing concerns form the human rights.
Since then the government has the left this care to the private sector facilities which tend to be hostile to the common American in terms of medical costs. Promises have been made to start cost effective outpatient clinics but up now, the facilities still remain a dream to many. This situation can not wholly be blamed on the government, but also on society that has neglected its own people.
The lack of facilities should not be an excuse for neglecting the needs of the sick homeless; these days technology has advanced and medicines have developed that can be administered to these patients in their homes. Families should consider this method in order to reduce the disgrace of their own people in public (Kessler 2005, p.617).
There are plans to improve the mental health situation, it is therefore important that the Center for Rural Affairs identifies mental health as a priority and set up medical facilities to help the people in need. To be cost effective, the experts should focus on preventive medicine and care. People should also be educated on ways of taking care of themselves; they should avoid activitiesthat would cause injuries to the head, as many mental problems come about as a result of brain trauma. Medical care should be made affordable to all Americans.
The government should also borrow a leaf from Medicaid, which is a private health insurance but still works to meet the medical requirements of the rural folk. Some people avoid seeking medical care because they fear that their privacy and medical information may be exposed to other people. Therefore confidentiality policies should be tightened to allow more people to visit the hospitals (Probst 2005).
America is a role model society to other counties; the rising number of homeless people on the streets is a disgrace. The American society should do right by their less fortunate members in the society.
Gamm L. D.& Hutchison L. L. Rural health priorities in America –Where you stand depends upon where you sit. Journal of Rural Health. 2003 19(3): 209 – 213.
Kessler R. C. Prevalence, severity and co-morbidity of twelve-month DSM-IV disorders in the national co-morbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R). Archives of General Psychiatry, 2005 June; 62(6): 617-27
Probst J. C. (2005). Depression in the Rural Populations: Prevalence, effects on life quality and treatment-seeking behaviour. Office of Rural Health policy, US Department of Health and Human Services, Rockville, MD.