There have been numerous advances in physical medicine in recent years, and thankfully so. One area of medicine is sorely lacking in progress and even more in availability in the United States – mental health.
One can only imagine how many lives would be lost if the availability of surgeons or oncologists or cardiologists was as sparse as is the availability of mental health treatment. This is not to say that lives haven’t been lost due to the lack of available treatment for mental health conditions, because they have. There are those who commit suicide, those who turn to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate and still others that simply cannot function adequately on a day-to-day basis.
In a recent article at MedPageToday.com discussing some of the newer ways science and medicine are looking at treating depression, it is noted that the big pharmaceutical companies are staying away from psychiatric drugs, with a 70 percent decrease of psychiatric drugs in research programs from 2009 to 2015. This doesn’t bode well for those people will mental health conditions that are not adequately controlled or with poor response to currently available medications.
While there are many in decision-making positions who point to the need for improvements in our current mental health system, there are few people who do more than talk about the issue. In the meantime, those with mental health disorders and the people who care about them are left holding the bag, maneuvering through a system fraught with dead-ends and U-turns.