By Rhonda Campbell
Mass shootings at schools, businesses and other facilities have forced Americans to look the impact that mental health has upon the country as a whole. Recent changes to insurance regulations outlined in Obamacare require health insurance companies to cover mental health care their customers receive.
For years, perhaps since as long as health insurance has existed, it was physical ailments that were covered, almost without a second thought. It was as if humans were only bodies, as if people didn’t have minds or mental health issues. Fortunately, that is changing.
What remains uncertain is how much leverage family members will have to ensure their loved ones who are suffering with mental illness actually get help. Far too many families suffer through diseases of the mind alone. The only recourse for many of these families is to call the police and have their mentally ill loved ones arrested.
However, prison isn’t a hospital or a clinic. It’s highly unlikely that communities would sit back passively and allow people suffering from heart disease, diabetes or cancer to be sent to jail or prison as a form of treatment.
Yet, families aren’t the only people who can benefit from further changes to mental health laws; business owners can also benefit. Workers can get the help they need to be more productive at work and at home without carrying the heavy stigma of being “different”.
The numbers of Americans who go from unemployed to employed may also increase, especially if workers are not only permitted but also encouraged to seek out and receive help for mental health conditions like depression, anorexia, anxiety, bipolar illness and schizophrenia. Leaving it up to the sick to determine if they should receive care may very well not prevent these forward strides from happening, which is why mental health laws need to change even more.
The recent Obamacare change is progress. However, more is needed. Families need a way to get ill relatives help, especially in situations where ill relatives don’t believe they’re sick. Putting such safeguards in place increases the chances that more Americans will be productive, in the workplace and in society. That’s good for business. That’s good for the economy. That’s good for the country as a whole.