On November 30th 2016, the US House of Representatives passed a $6.5 billion health bill. The bill is expected to benefit the families who have a member or members with mental disorders. It is one of the most significant bill that targets people with the mental problems.
Since the year 1963, the House has never passed a bill favoring people with mental problems; this bill is considered as a great move for them. According to Maria A. Oquendo, the President of the American Psychiatrist Association, the bill also aimed at benefiting patients with mental diseases that result from substance use e.g. drug addicts with mental health problems.
Mental Health Problems in the US
It is estimated that out of every five Americans, one is suffering from a mental health problem. The problem can either be natural or as a result of drug and substance abuse. If the people suffering from these mental diseases got access to a healthcare, they would get the right help and the number would decrease.
The patients would also have a chance to live a better life than they do. Over 75% of the people with the mental health problems are 24 years and above. If the problems are taken care of at an early age, the fewer the mental health patients would be in the country.
The Bill’s Benefits to the Citizens
The main aim of the bill is to improve the effectiveness and the oversight of the federal mental health programs. The bill also aims at providing more funds for mental health programs. These funds are to enhance the efficiency in response to crisis and implement tracking systems for the inpatients and residential beds. The bill will also ensure that there are adequate funds to promote early intervention of mental health problems. The cases of suicide are also expected to reduce after the implementation of the bill.
After the bill had been passed, some civil rights groups opposed the move claiming that the bill would violate patient’s privacy protection. According to these groups, the bill would also estrange some mental health patients by forcing them to seek the involuntary outpatient treatment.
People in the mental health field agrees that the bill will be beneficial, but they don’t believe that it would be of significant help. The mental health bill won’t have an effect on the medicine prices. Insurance policies are also likely to be affected by the passing of the bill.
Is the Mental Health Final?
Some say that the bill is just a tip of an iceberg, that the mental health bill is just a beginning of the reformation of the mental health programs. According to the players behind it, the bill is just laying a foundation for improvements in the mental health programs. It aims to reduce the numbers of the people suffering from the mental health problems in the country.
For more than 50 years, there have not been any changes in the mental health programs in the US. More and more health bills have been passed and implemented, but none has involved the mental health. The number of the mental health patients in the country has continued to rise and today, it estimated that there are over 60 million mental health patients. Out of the people suffering from mental health disorders, about 80% percent are adults over 24 years. If the bill is implemented, the number is expected to reduce as more and more people will have access to health care and get treated.