Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Death by Lack of Insurance II

In response to a question about the last posting "Death by Lack of Insurance", I should mention another contribution of the lack of insurance.

One large gap in accessing needed care encountered by the uninsured and underinsured is the inability to get mental health care. (I should note that under-insurance, i.e. non-coverage of certain categories of health care or health needs, is considerable for mental health services. Even many individuals that have great medical coverage have little or no coverage for mental health services.)

For many individuals, not unlike problems with lack of access to medical care, lack of access to mental health care can result in death. This effect can be direct from increased risk of suicide death, lack of intervention in self-medication with illicit (or legal) drugs, or lack of treatment for high risk behaviors. The effect can also be indirect from behavior problems not addressed by mental health professional contributing to job loss, ill health and increases in risk taking.

Just as lack of medical care contributes to increased risk of death, so too does lack of access to mental health care.

2 comments:

Lisa said...

There are free clinics around the country for mental health.

http://www.meierclinics.com/index.php

There is one in Wheaton, IL.

Also...most churches have sources that they can refer you to and they may even help with the bill.

Shanda said...

Lisa:

Not all states have free mental health clinics, or if they do, they are substandard. Many of the sliding-scale clinics are substandard and just give people a fad diagnosis, drug them up with fad drugs rather than treating what's going on.

I also have yet to find any church that will help with the bills for medical or mental health services. If one is not connected with a church, they often get "sorry, can't help you, you're not one of us". Most churches are too busy collecting for orphans in other countries to bother with the poor right here in the US.

People living in remote rural areas or in small towns that are a long drive from the nearest city of any size have bigger problems getting help.

Sorry about sounding so harsh but I've been there more times than I can count.