“Mental illness means an impairment of the mental or emotional processes that exercise Most mental illness are a direct cause of chemical imbalances in, or injuries to, the brain, whereas a physical illness such as diabetes the insulin levels and blood sugar can be measured. Because “mental illness” is often measured in relation to a standard considered normal and because definitions of normality can vary, defining it clearly is rather difficult. As the actual physical diagnostics improve, the definition will approve according.
At this time, there is no cure for mental illness, but it is treatable. Treatment methods usually include a combination of: psychotherapy, cognitive-behavior therapy, medication and electroconvulsive therapy for severe mental illness.
“The mass deinstitutionalization from mental health facilities occurred over forty years ago, yet the promise of community-based programs and outpatient services has not been kept especially towards the homeless and others living in poverty” (Mental Illness, Chronic Homelessness: An American Disgrace, 2000).
Because of the seriousness of this situation, many organizations have learned to focus on providing a variety of outreach programs, vocational and psychosocial rehabilitation programs, psycho educational efforts and diversified housing programs in response to the new realities of deinstitutionalization.
The need to integrate mental health care with other systems of care plays an important role to the mentally ill. This was highlighted in a final report of the President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health. According to the report, “A fundamental premise of this report is that mental and medical conditions are highly interconnected. Therefore, improving care for individuals with mental disorders requires close attention to the interface of mental health and general medical care”.
Most mental and physical illnesses are recognized to be influenced by a combination of biological, psychological and social factors. “Modern science is discovering that while it is convenient for purposes of discussion to separate mental health from physical health, this is more a matter of semantics… the health behavior of communities is linked to an individual’s mental health… therefore, health behavior is of particular concern to public health because of its role in shaping the overall health status of populations” (Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment)
There are many health services needed to improve the quality of life for the mentally ill. Those categories are: Mental Health (Employment Services, Anger Management, and Substance Abuse Treatments). Another service that could be provided to the mentally ill is primary care services. These services will provide health services, well child care, and emergency health services. The mentally ill could also be provided with social services. The types of social services that would be offered to the mentally ill are: advocacy & crisis intervention, parenting class, domestic violence-social and counseling.
There are three government agencies that provide funding to mental health care. Those sources are: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, Medicare and Medicaid. The populations that are covered by these funding sources are eligible individuals and families with low income and resources. Among the groups of people served by these sources are low-income parents, children, seniors and people with disabilities.
Using a managed care plan places limits on visits with mental health providers, which most patients with mental health problems require on a weekly or monthly basis. This can cause tremendous stress on the patient due to constant communication with the insurance company to get the care that is needed. Another challenge is the limitation on medication prescribed to the patient. The “preferred “medication is decided by the managed care, not the patient or the patient’s doctor.
A managed care model of mental health care reduce care spending by fewer doctor visits, less expensive and fewer medications, fewer diagnostic tests, less access to specialist, and more stringent requirements for emergencycare for patients.