Mental Illness In America Research Paper

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Mental Illness in America: The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act A huge percentage of Americans suffer from various mental illnesses. 1 in 5 adults in the US, or 18.5% of the population, will experience mental illness in a given year (NAMI). With these mental illnesses come so many difficult questions. How can we improve the lives of Americans struggling with mental illnesses? What happens if these Americans become harmful to themselves or others? And how can we help and keep their families involved? The American government as well as several organizations have been trying to tackle these issues. Congressman Tim Murphy created a bill called the Helping Families in Mental Crisis Act (H.R. 2426) that seeks to “fix the nation’s broken …show more content…

This policy should keep some aspects from Murphy's bill and get rid of others. Individuals should only be involuntarily committed if they prove to be a treat to the safety of themselves or others. If they do not meet this requirement, the court should not have a right to decide that the individual is unable to make a decision regarding treatment. Holding involuntary commitment to the “old” standards satisfies MindFreedom’s need for protection of mentally ill Americans’ rights, and also satisfies NAMI by ensuring the safety of the individual as well as other people. Family members or caregivers should have easy access to visitation of their loved ones who are in psychiatric hospitals. Institutions should encourage family involvement more often. Patients at these institutions should be able to choose who they would like to allow visitation to. Making sure families can easily stay involved in the lives of their loved ones would appeal to NAMI. However, having a mental illness should not exclude individuals from the protection that HIPAA provides to everyone else. Staff should receive permission from patients before sharing any information with others, family or otherwise. This would appeal to MindFreedom by making sure mentally ill individuals are being treated equally to those who do not suffer from mental illnesses. While Murphy's bill works to keep mentally ill Americans from getting into jail in the first place, individuals in jail need to have access to proper therapy, as well as hospitalization if needed. Alan R. Felthous, director of Forensic Psychiatry at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine, agrees that "by denying hospitalization to a class of individuals—mentally ill and disabled inmates—that is available to all other individuals with mental illness of the same nature and severity, the detention/correctional system is discriminating based on a

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