Guest: Make mental health services more accessible

SAM ALAVI / COURTESY

Provide organizations with the resources to help those struggling

As a third-year student at UC Davis who considers mental health of the utmost importance because it affects how we handle stress and the way we relate to one another in society, I want to express my concerns regarding the lack of mental health services in the United States. According to the Association for Psychological Science, over 60 million Americans experience mental illness in a year, and 40 percent of individuals with serious mental illness do not receive care. This suggests a lack of access to mental health services and alludes to possible barriers to treatment for such issues.

These barriers are particularly concerning when you consider that Basic Needs, a non-governmental organization that provides care to countries around the world, says that without accessible mental health services and the ability to seek treatment, individuals can experience a dramatic loss of income and their family members will increasingly deal with stressful living conditions. Stress can impede other individuals from progressing. Kids may need to work to provide for their families instead of going to school.

I urge you all to spread awareness of mental health and access to mental health services to communities through partnerships. It’s important to recognize that mental health is a prevalent issue in communities across the nation. Mental health services can help individuals receive support and care which can bring positive life changes in the long run. This will be done through collaborating with residents, community advocates, schools and public health specialists. We can build strong partnerships with public health agencies, board members, public health organizations and mental therapists. For example, many public health organizations, including Active Minds, which has a branch here on campus, could provide services such as health and wellness workshops and mental health awareness campaigns.

There could certainly be more discussions of mental health and research to improve evidence databases about mental health in the United States and mental health services with specialized care. Public health organizations could create databases in order to help and find the nearest mental health resources and clinics. The strong partnerships and collaboration bring a greater awareness of mental health and accessible mental health services for individuals seeking help.
Written by: Michelle Wang

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