WASHINGTON—Saying that things are only going to keep getting worse unless it’s willing to step up and make some changes, millions of frustrated Americans wondered this week why the nation’s struggling mental health system couldn’t just snap out of its funk and pull itself together.
Citing reports that an estimated 91 million Americans live in areas where shortages of mental health professionals make getting treatment difficult and that the mental health system had lost $4.35 billion in state funding from 2009–2012, exasperated citizens from across the country said they had finally reached their limit with the network of medical professionals, inpatient facilities, and long-term treatment programs that apparently lacked the willpower to improve its situation.
“Look, I know it’s been a rough couple of years and things haven’t exactly gotten any easier lately, but this can’t go on,” said Oakland, CA resident Marissa Thomas, adding she had lost all patience waiting for the mental health system to stop wallowing in its struggles and make a concerted effort to get its act together. “Eventually, it’s got to want to fix itself.”
“No one’s going to waltz in one day, wave a magic wand, and make all these troubles disappear,” continued Thomas, who said she was “beyond exhausted” with the mental health system’s inability to accommodate the estimated 600,000 severely mentally ill individuals who annually end up homeless, in prisons, or dead from suicide. “It just keeps having the same issues over and over again and doesn’t do a thing about them. I’m pretty much numb to it at this point.”
As the nation’s mental health care system continues to sink deeper and deeper into despair, even failing to perform basic tasks such as routine mental health evaluations and emergency counseling services, Americans have reportedly begun to wonder if it has any desire at all to take responsibility for its current state or if it will just continue to burden the people close to it.