Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mental Health Issues Are Common, Severe

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mental Health Issues Are Common, Severe

Article excerpt

What's it like when much of your spare time involves reading reports on health care, such as Medicaid reform?

For one thing you get to speak to the Jacksonville Community Council Inc. study group on local mental health.

That's the case with Chuck Ingoglia, senior vice president of public policy and practice improvement at the National Council for Behavioral Health.

"Our entire health care system now is in a bit of disruption," Ingoglia told the JCCI study group.

It also learned that the major issues that affect mental health care in Jacksonville - such as a shortage of professionals in the field - are commonplace across the country.

And it discovered that widespread confusion still exists as the nation transitions to the reforms of the Affordable Care Act.


But there are pockets of excellence and successful experiments.

For instance, Missouri is having some success giving more routine care to people with mental illness.

In Colorado, a plan to establish emergency mental health centers after mass shootings is moving forward after a court settlement was reached over the bidding process for the project, The Associated Press reported.

The plan was to have four walk-in crisis centers in each quadrant of the state, a 24-hour mental health hotline and mobile units to travel to rural areas.

And in Rhode Island, legislation was approved to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.

There is also much encouraging work being done to integrate mental health care and physical health.

Traditionally, providers and funders of physical and mental health have been separated.

But now we have finally reached a tipping point - mental illness and emotional well-being are starting to be seen as part of the whole person's health care.

It is a welcome development, because you simply can't separate mental and physical health.

People with mental illness can become incapable of taking care of their physical ailments.

And people who are physically sick may develop depression or anxiety.

People with serious mental illness tend to die early.

They are also more likely to be poor and unable to manage several medical conditions.

Amd the reality is that the most expensive people to treat in the medical system are those suffering from mental illness.


Because their issues frequently aren't addressed through primary care, they use emergency rooms more often than others.

And they're hospitalized more often, too.


It's sometimes difficult to determine if a person has a mental illness. …

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