Mental Health Policy and Health Care Reform

By Carter, Rosalynn | National Forum, Winter 1993 | Go to article overview

Mental Health Policy and Health Care Reform


Carter, Rosalynn, National Forum


SUPERMAN IS DEAD...KILLED BY A SUPERLUNATIC, AN ESCAPEE FROM A COSMIC INSANE ASYLUM. This was the headline in papers around the country in September. Here in Georgia, in October, the news was SIX FLAGS OVER GEORGIA TO OPEN NEW HALLOWEEN ATTRACTION: "ASYLUM OF HORRORS."

It seems as though we have been fighting myths, misconceptions, and stereotypes about mental illness for decades; indeed, many of us have! And yet much has changed.

A quick response from mental health advocates clarified the fact that Superman's killer is really a cosmic criminal; the new Halloween attraction at Six Flags became the "House of Horrors."

We are learning a great deal about how to change public attitudes, influence the media, and shape public policy. Our most important challenge of the decade is to ensure that as the debate over national health care reform proceeds we win a victory for mental health in any new plan.

There is much going on in the field that offers great hope to those who suffer from mental illness and to their families. Many of the developments of the last decade have important implications for the debate over including mental health in health care reform.

Progress in understanding the biology of the brain has been nothing short of amazing. We now know more about how messages are sent from one nerve cell to another. We can take pictures of the brain without surgery or injections. We can measure activity related to different emotions and behaviors, and we have learned much more about where medicines act in the brain.

Through careful clinical trials, we have used this knowledge to significantly improve treatment. New medications are helping people suffering from depression and anxiety. Special kinds of psychological therapy are also proving to be effective in treating depressed individuals. And we have new drugs that work for some patients with schizophrenia who have not responded to other kinds of treatments.

One success story involves a thirty-seven-year-old man suffering from schizophrenia who, for almost twenty years, was in and out of psychiatric hospitals. He heard strange voices and preached to other patients that his prayers would save the world. In 1989 he began treatment with one of the new drugs, Clozapine; today he is significantly improved and about to become a college graduate.

The new treatments reduce symptoms and restore personal effectiveness--not for all patients, but for many; not every time, but often; not forever, but for long periods of time. Yet many patients who could benefit from treatment are not receiving it.

Even those with the most severe mental illnesses could significantly improve through treatment with the new medications and rehabilitation. Yet the hope of recovery is denied to hundreds of thousands because of lack of access to care.

Many who could benefit from advances in treatment remain incapacitated because they have no way to pay for care. Hundreds of thousands more and their families face serious economic hardship because of limited coverage under most existing insurance plans. I often receive letters from distraught family members describing their heavy financial burdens and their frustrating efforts at obtaining care for their mentally ill loved one. The stark reality is that our current system of public and private insurance discriminates badly against those in need of a broad array of mental health services.

As most of you know, my greatest disappointment after leaving the White House was the failure to implement the Mental Health Systems Act. A wonderful opportunity to create landmark change in the financing and delivery of mental health services was lost. However, I am proud and pleased that, because of the efforts of many mental health organizations, some of its most significant principles were incorporated into new or existing programs throughout the 1980s.

Small but significant victories were achieved in the use of Social Security Insurance and Medicaid to support people with severe mental illness in the community, and such programs as the Green Door in Washington, D. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Mental Health Policy and Health Care Reform
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.