Mental health policy has been introduced several years ago. It is associated with certain changes in the mental health legislation. According to the Supreme Court’s verdict, mentally ill individuals should be treated not in the state mental institutions such as mental hospitals, but rather in a less limited environment. Today, in all states of the US, mentally disabled individuals are treated in communities. This is associated with a number of advantages and disadvantages as will be analyzed below.
First, it needs to be mentioned that the US government has introduced three valuable changes concerning mental health policy. These changes are vitally important for creating a more solid mental health care system. The changes include implementation of various innovations, including Medicaid Innovations Waiver, formation of wide-scale service providers and signing of three-way agreements between the state authorities, mental health institution located in the given state and local mental health hospital intended for fulfilling the immediate needs of mentally disabled individuals. All of these aspects of mental health policy are associated with both pros and cons.
It should be noted that the mental health policy has been introduced based on a wish to save money during the hard times experienced by every state of the US. North Carolina, for example, has approved the innovations to be implemented in the mental health policy and started to provide mental health services based on so-called Medicaid Innovations Waiver, which applies to all mentally ill individuals within the community. This can be considered a significant advantage of the mental health policy as it helps to save money for mental hospitals and other commodities that are normally needed for mentally ill individuals. Today, based on mental health policy the states cater for the needs of those who suffer from drug abuse or have some psychic deviations. All this is financed by Medicaid located in North Carolina. Among other advantages of such measure is the fact that it allows the state to use its financial resources with greater efficiency. It gives an opportunity to forecast and control the expenses related to mental health services. Furthermore it encourages the improvement of quality of mental health services provided to citizens. It also allows using data resources on this or that patient’s condition more effectively.
On the other hand, various aspects of mental health policy are associated with a number of disadvantages. As a rule people who have some mental disabilities tend to express their concerns regarding the cap spent on mental health services per year. The cap equals to nearly $140,000 dollars, which is an excessive burden for all citizens suffering from mental illnesses. Furthermore, the waiting lists are also a worrisome aspect of the policy. The changes implemented in mental health policy have posed a risk of insufficient quality of mental health services, which often are not delivered in a proper way. There should be enough reserves to cover the expenses associated with mental healthcare services. These are among the major disadvantages of newly introduced mental health policy.
Among others, it is hard to provide services in all regions requiring mental healthcare services. Thus, it is hard to deliver services in rural areas, where people also suffer from various mental diseases. This problem is not easy to solve, but the government of every state should thoroughly investigate this problem and come up with a possible solution. Furthermore, the mental health workers often lack adequate training. Today, medical workers have not many opportunities to improve their knowledge on the issues related to mental healthcare. This leads to lack of adequate treatment in mental health care institutions, which is a significant drawback of mental health policy as it does not cover the need for training medical workers specialized in the field of mental healthcare.