The Mental Health Reform Movement

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The Mental Health Reform Movement

Many of us are aware that America’s mental health system is often inefficient and unfair to those suffering from severe, chronic illnesses. Furthermore, most Americans who require mental health care cannot access it.

We are witnessing a crisis in the public mental health system of our country. Few Americans are receiving adequate psychiatric or psychological care, and treatment wait lists are increasingly long.

Unfortunately, there are simply not enough therapists, doctors or psychiatrists to meet the needs of most people suffering from mental illness. As a result, many with serious issues end up homeless, in jail or on the streets.

In 1840, Dorothea Dix spearheaded a movement to improve the treatment of mentally ill individuals in hospitals and homes. Her work was guided by principles of moral treatment which advocated that patients be freed from abusive treatments such as shackles or straitjackets.

She fostered connections with other reformers and persuaded legislators and European governments to change the law to safeguard mental illness rights. By collecting objective data, she demonstrated that her reforms were more successful than those proposed by opponents who relied solely on subjective arguments.

Her efforts led to the construction of several public hospitals for mentally ill individuals, ushering in a period of mental health reform. By doing so, she brought this movement into line with other humanitarian endeavors taking place during the 1800s such as temperance, women’s rights and penal reform.

Through her tireless advocacy, she successfully convinced state legislatures and Congress to build public hospitals for the mentally ill. Additionally, she called for the removal of shackles and straitjackets from institutions as this not only helped those suffering from mental illness but also prevented disease spread.

After her passing, she left behind a legacy of tireless activists who continue to advocate for humane treatment of individuals with mental health problems. They work to guarantee patients have a voice in their treatment decisions and the freedom to reject unnecessary coercion at every turn from diagnosis through discharge.

It is time to revive mental health reform and guarantee all people living with mental illness receive the care they need to thrive in society. That is why passing S. 2680 and H. R. 2646, two bills introduced last year by Senator Bob Corker (D-VT), is so crucial; they improve coordination between federal agencies while raising limits on grants given states for treatment and recovery services; furthermore, federal funding supports evidence-based practice while providing better access for individuals seeking a diagnosis of mental illness.

These bills are an important step in the right direction and won’t solve all our country’s mental health problems. But they will make mental healthcare more accessible, guaranteeing people with severe disabilities the treatment they need to live healthy lives, and ensure all those experiencing homelessness receive support to stay safe and secure while seeking mental healthcare services.

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- Welcome, SoundTherapy.com lowers anxiety 86%, pain 77%, and boosts memory 11-29%. Click on the brain to sign up or share with buttons below to help others: