Mental health: a government responsibility

We Americans have a mental health problem, and it needs to be addressed straight away. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, “There are pervasive delays in getting treatment: the median across disorders is nearly a decade, contributing to a greater severity, co-occurrence of mental illnesses, and lower success rates as people age.”

And according to the International Center for Clubhouse Development (ICCD), 35-40 percent of people with severe disorders are not diagnosed in the United States. That’s disturbing.

Right now, you’re probably asking yourself, “Why is the government letting this happen? Why aren’t people being diagnosed?” Well, I have a few reasons.

The first reason is money, something we all fight over and love, but a couple of horrible shootings have shown the cost of ignoring putting more money into the mental health system.

According to Kim Jensen, putting money into the mental health system will actually save the government money rather than waiting until another crisis occurs. “The government should spend money on mental illness because they’re going to spend the money on people with mental illness anyway. They’ll spend it on that individual when a crisis occurs, such as a crime, and emergency hospitalization or prison, which is far more costly than spending money on the individual to get treated. It costs around $33,000 a year to house prisoners in the state of Iowa,” Jensen said.

Jensen surely knows what she’s talking about since she has an 11-year-old, adopted child with a mental illness.

The second reason the government refuses to give money to the mental health system is because they deem it as something that’s not important, but that’s problematic. Schizophrenia or Reactive Attachment Disorder, a disorder that causes an individual to have tons of aggression, certainly deserve medication or treatment.

And that is where the gun control comes into play. Yes, the Second Amendment states that people have rights to bare arms, but I don’t think the founding fathers were thinking, “Let’s give the people of America handguns and assault rifles. Hey! I have an even better idea. Let’s only check criminal records and make them wait a couple of days for them to get their guns. They surely won’t fall into the hands of people that may lack the mental facilities to use them.”

Do you know how easy it would be for someone with a mental illness that wasn’t diagnosed, that had bad intentions but didn’t have a criminal record, to get a gun?

The government needs to actually treat people with a mental illness rather than ignore them, and they definitely need to have better restrictions on guns. Having better restrictions on guns doesn’t “destroy” our Second Amendment. All it does is help shape our country for the better and help stop future shootings.

By increasing the money we put into treating mental illness and increasing restrictions on getting guns, America will be safer and healthier. It’s that simple.

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