President Bush’s 2002 Freedom Commission on Mental Health
This study was commissioned by President Bush to research on issues regarding the United States’ mental health and come up with recommendations. This was President Bush’s way to aid in the fight against inequality for Americans with disabilities. It was to be carried out by implementing various policies. The President had tasked the commission to identify policies that could be implemented by all organs of the government to optimally use the existing resources, improve the treatment system and promote community association for adults with adverse mental illness and infants with emotional imbalance (The Commission on Mental Health 4).
The report majorly underlines the necessity to develop and transform the United States’ mental health care system. This could be achieved through the commission’s mission statement: Achieving the Promise of Transformation of the Mental Health Care in America. The transformation in the mental care system was required due to the high rate of discrimination levied upon those who were considered to be disabled. This was meant to be a platform to give them an equal opportunity in all spheres of life, such as economic, social and political, but special emphasis was laid on the treatment of the mentally ill.
The commission employed the Texas Medication Algorithm Project (TMAP) as the blueprint. Texas Medication Algorithm Project is a medical algorithm, which was based on the opinions of experts (The Commission on Mental Health 8). The model provided guidelines on how to manage psychiatric patients in Texas. The commission recommended that adults and children be screened for mental illness and mental disturbance respectively. The individuals suspected to be having disabilities were to be supported in all dimensions. The support services included the provision of treatment in the form of improved psychoactive drugs.
The commission held public meetings in a bid to get the opinions of the public regarding the matter of mental health. The aim of getting the public’s view was to enable them to be able to formulate a better action plan that had incorporated all stakeholders. The commission obtained 2500 views of stakeholders in the health care system between June 2002 to April 2003 through letters, testimonials, website and e-mails. These remarks were made by family members, educators, parents, researchers, among other concerned individuals.
The views of the individuals were summarized into broad goals that the commission was to work on. First, Americans were to be educated in understanding that one’s mental health is an essential function of the entire body. This was to be done through advance national campaigns on reducing the stigma associated with seeking care and mental health was to be treated at the same urgency as physical health. Understanding of mental health care was essential as it was discovered many Americans are ignorant of the fact that it is curable. Furthermore, Americans are also ignorant of the health care services and treatments available that can enable the mentally ill actively participate in the development of the country. This makes the society isolate them, thus they turn to other forms of consolation such as drugs and alcohol.
The consumers and their family members need to the major thing in the health care system, thus the needs of the consumers should be the driving force for the services and care that are being provided. The services at that time were divided and characterized by many rules and regulations that restrained the clients from accessing the services due to bureaucratic procedures. The commission noted with a lot of concern that the consumers of the mental health care system were self determined to recover. However, they were restricted by the disconnected programs in support services, mental health care and the disability benefits (The Commission on Mental Health 10).
The mental health system was not on pace with the current needs of the racial and ethnic minorities as they are underserved or in appropriately served. The goal is therefore aimed at improving access to quality care that serves all cultures and also serves rural and other remote areas. The racial and ethnic minorities are the most vibrant people in the U.S economy as they also contribute to the economy. However, it is projected that this group will account for about 40% of the total population by 2025 (American Psychiatric Association 23). This therefore implies they also need to be given the same treatment as other Americans. However, this is not the case as African Americans are usually under diagnosed for depression thus they are less likely to be prescribed with antidepressants. This leads to increased mental illness among the minority racial and ethnic groups.
Early screening for consumers of all ages is vital as it can prevent mental health problems at an early stage before it becomes intensified. This therefore implies early detection, as linkage and assessment can positively impact on the lives of both children and adults who are diagnosed at an early stage (Byck 44). Research indicates that early detection and treatment can interrupt the mental illness from taking a negative course or even shorten disability that was deemed to be of a long-term nature (Byck 43).
The health care system of the mentally ill was to be made effective and furthermore accessible to a large number of people. Research conducted in the area was to be intensive and cover all the major aspects of the mental health so as to come up with effective ways to cure the illness. State of the art treatments is available but they are only accessible to few consumers. The mental health area has several evidence-based practices that can be used in the treatment of the mentally ill but they are geographically inaccessible as they are limited in number (The Commission on Mental Health 13). Over the years, it has been realized that research done on the issue usually lays bare without being used in any mental field, thus research are developed each year without being fully completed. This brings about inconsistency and resources wastage.
Corporation of information technology in the mental health care system will ensure safety, effectiveness, patient-centered and efficiency in the health care system. Furthermore, it ensures that the consumer get access to mental information readily (The Commission on Mental Health 15). This will help prevent errors, deaths and injuries that usually occur while administering drugs to the patients. This goal is significant in achieving the other five goals because it ensures they will integrate all the goals into one pool, thus facilitate safety, high quality health care and equity. This can be achieved through using technology accessibility of mental health, especially of the mentally ill in remote areas and also come up with an integrated mental health care record that ensure all personal information relating to the mentally ill is well documented(The Commission on Mental Health 16).
The success of the commission can be studied by exploring
the data gathered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
The administration is responsible for studying the trends of mental illness in
the United States and giving the necessary recommendations (American Psychiatric Association
35). The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is a body
formed under the health docket of the government to oversee the treatment of
mental health in each subsequent year through the National Survey on Drug Abuse
and Health. The success of the
recommendations of the commission is evident by the increase in the use of
mental health services by the mentally ill from 4.5% in 2002 to 24% in the year
2013 (American Psychiatric Association
38). Furthermore, it has been observed that the number of people suffering from
mental illness has been declining progressively after well stipulated campaigns
to create awareness.
Achieving the promise: transforming mental health care in America : executive summary : final report.. Rockville, Md.] (5600 Fishers Lane, Suite 13C-26, Rockville 20857): President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, 2003. Print.
Byck, Robert. Treating mental illness. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1986. Print.
Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-IV-TR.. 4th ed. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association, 2013. Print.