By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.
Who should treat mental illness, where, and how should it be treated?
The mental health field is changing. A host of events and forces have intersected to influence our feelings on the proper response of society to this thing we are calling mental illness. Lots of things are happening or about to happen in this mental health field.
Here in America, the very ground underneath mental health treatment is moving.
In 1900, here in America, less than 10% of doctors had ever been to college. Until 1914 drugs were legal and you could openly buy them anywhere. As late as 1950 there were no meds to treat mental illness and those who were given a diagnosis could be tucked away first in barns and attics and later in sanitariums.
The talk therapies are just past their hundredth birthday and many people have still never been to see a therapist. Three months ago more Americans were without health care than there were those who had coverage. The few who did have health insurance here in America did not have coverage for mental illness or substance abuse. Treatment of these disorders while improving is still not on an even footing with most physical illnesses.
Less than a year ago the American Psychiatric Association released the new DSM-5 which redefined, reclassified, and altered our understanding of what is and is not a mental, emotional, or behavioral disorder. The new version of the International Classification of Diseases is due out soon which will change the field of treating mental health problems also.
This alteration in the landscape of the treatment of mental disorders is not solely confined to the United States of America. Blog readers and commenters from all over the world are asking similar questions and telling similar stories of their efforts to recover from an emotional or mental problem. They are also telling tales of less than helpful services.
The very mention of mental illness can evoke some pretty strong emotions. Some cultures, religions, and even professions still are denying the existence of such a thing as a Mental Illness.
People leave comments and they send me emails. The comments of every reader of counselorssoapbox.com are valued. Some of them I answer briefly as soon as I can. Others require longer blog posts to give them the space they call for. A few are so angry or personal I have hesitated to approve them.
Some of you have left comments or sent me emails about how we are doing things here in America and how that might differ from the way things are done in other places. I have been having an interesting ongoing conversation with Ellen in the U. K. about how they do things there. I will fill you all in on that discussion as soon as possible.
Let me offer this invitation to all of you out there to share your experiences and how the mental health delivery system works in your part of our planet. I will share my clearly limited perspective from here in Fresno, California, one of the more diverse places in this United States of America. I feel sure the view of the mental health landscape will look a lot different from other points of view.
We should be talking about how we have been treating mental illness, how we should be treating it, and how we get from where we are to where we need to be.
That discussion also implies some understanding of what “mental illness” is and how people develop a mental disorder. What a mental illness is, implies a view of what causes it, how it progresses, how to treat it. The view you take of this phenomenon also influences your view of the possibility it could be cured and if so how.
Knowing what mental illness is and what needs to be done about this leads us to the answer to my first question about who should be treating this problem.
We also have the added problem that no matter how sure we are of causes and treatments we need to know who is going to pay for these efforts. How treatment is delivered is strongly controlled by those who handle the money.
Let’s take a look at some of these questions and together see if we can find some solutions.
Staying connected with David Joel Miller
Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!
My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.
Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.
Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.
As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.
Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.
Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.
Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.
Planned Accidents The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.
Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.
What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?
Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.
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