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Let’s Talk About Mental Health

April 25, 2024

Mental Health…the topic that everyone seems to be uncomfortable discussing, and yet the suicide rates in the US are higher than they were in 1941.  Currently, the suicide rate is now at 14.34 deaths per 100,000.  Unfortunately, it is also true that men aged 75 and older have the highest suicide rate, which nearly toppled 44 per 100,000 people.  Add to this crisis, the fact that mental health is harder to find now than before the pandemic.  About half of the people in the US live in an area without a mental health professional.  Federal data shows that the US would need an additional 8,500 professionals to fill the gap on mental health care.

Americans experience the LEAST economic security of the inhabitants of any advanced nation.  A healthy society needs more job security and stronger safety nets.  A lower percentage of Americans have access to affordable medical care than in any other advanced nation.  A healthy society keeps its people healthy.  Big money also plays a larger role in American politics than it does in almost any other advanced nation.   Americans are being subjected to xenophobia, homophobia and racism as well, which just continues to affect our citizens detrimentally.

Where do we even begin?   We know that finding 8,500 mental health professionals that would move into rural areas to close the gap on access to mental health services is a very long way off.   We also know that Americans are being inundated with media, politics, job insecurity, inflation, as well as the high cost of medical care which makes our situation even tougher.

We need to do better.  We need to band together and begin to slowly heal this country.   We need to look out for each other and collectively seek better working conditions, affordable healthcare, as well as job security.

 

man with many puzzle pieces for mental health

We also need to give access to those who are suffering and do not have the means to get to a mental health professional.  The newest and most innovative (as well as useful) benefit that we are seeing is mental health telemedicine.  Mental health telemedicine is an up and coming benefit which allows those who need to talk to a mental health provider have access to one either by phone or via video from the comfort of their own home, vehicle, office, or wherever they feel comfortable sharing.   While we know that mental health in person has always been the way that patients were treated, we must realize now that things need to progress forward in order to ensure that our members are getting the help that they need.   It is also important to give access from a totally separate benefit platform so that workers do not ignore symptoms of mental health because they are afraid that their employer will become aware of the issues.   Mental Health Telemedicine that is not tied to a current insurance provider is the way to protect the privacy of all involved.

 

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