Zachary Alexander Vaughan

Green Run Collegiate

High School

I see democracy as a system of government that is based strongly around the worth of an individual and pays attention to the minority groups.The health crises related to treating people with depression is failing Americans.Over 300 million Americans live with depression according to the World Health Organization. When proper assistance isn’t provided for Americans with depression, the suicide rate begins to increase. The national suicide rate has steadily increased 25 percent since 1999. Even after all these years of research effective suicide prevention tactics are still deficient. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in America, coming in higher than homicide which is the fifteenth leading cause of death in America. About 43,000 people die each year from self inflicted injuries. I find this to be an extremely high annual rate of suicide. I don’t see how after the US has been researching and “improving” mental health care, the rate of suicide is still increasing. With this being said I feel as if not nearly enough attention or focus is being given to this major health crisis.Eight out of ten people considering suicide give signs of their plans and intentions. If majority of the people considering suicide show signs then the friends and family should notice these signs and take it seriously and seek help. Sometimes it seems like mental health is just swept under the rug and there isn’t much attention being paid towards mental health.When someone commits homicide there is police officers that are supposed to prevent crimes and arrest those who commited the crimes. If crime rates start to increase and perpetrators are no longer being arrested, those who are supposed to prevent the crimes are going to be suspended or fired. “In contrast to homicide and traffic safety and other public health issues, there’s no one accountable, no one whose job it is to prevent these deaths — no one who gets fired if these numbers go from 45,000 to 50,000,” Dr. Insel said. If these actions or situations aren’t acceptable in other areas of public health, then mental health should be no exception. Sometimes it seems like mental health is just swept under the rug and there isn’t much attention being paid towards mental health.  According to Thomas Insel America has managed to lower the mortality rate from AIDS, heart disease, leukemia, and strokes. But the US hasn’t managed to lower the mortality rate of suicide and 90 percent of suicides are related to a mental illness. Dr. Insel explains that with these being mental illnesses they are illnesses of the brain and the brain is a very complex and difficult organ to comprehend and make sense of. Dr. Insel explains that we are just now beginning to somewhat understand and wrap our heads around the human brain.While yes time is needed for proper research to be done on mental illnesses. There needs to be proper mental health care that will work temporarily. Americans with mental illnesses can’t wait until research is done there needs to be help for them now. I get that it takes time for research but while research is being done, others could be operating mental health centers to care for patients. While yes the end goal is to cure these mental illnesses or to treat them, as of now the US just needs to keep people with mental illnesses safe. According to Pamela S. Hyde the administrator of SAMHSA there is a five point plan to improve the nation’s mental health. Even though it’s common knowledge that 1 in 5 Americans suffer from mental illness, the US is still often reluctant to provide funding or resources for prevention, treatment, and recovery services. Also there simply isn't a strong enough workforce for mental health care. The workforce that this nation needs is properly trained to deal with traumatic events, recovery based and needs to be culturally competent. The workforce also needs to be abundant in numbers and locations in order to be effective.Most hospitals can’t provide psychiatric hospitalization because of a lack of psychiatrist on staff. Psychiatrist are hard to find in small towns, these services need to be readily available. If these services aren't available then America is not fulfilling the tenet of democracy we know as individualism. If we are not providing the proper care for these individuals and each person isn’t a priority then how can America say it is a democracy. Even if America does still claim to be a democracy then it surely isn’t a perfect democracy as the myth claims.With all the technology available America needs to use more of the technology to benefit the nations mental health. The use of these technologies would help strengthen the nations weak workforce when it comes to mental health. This would allow more privacy for patients, it would also allow them to receive need help from the comfort of their home.As far as the public goes the government needs to educate the public on mental illness. This would hopefully take away the negative stigma from mental illness and it would allow the people with the illnesses to be more open and comfortable about their condition. If the public isn’t educated then they will continue to have the negative attitude towards mental illness and they most likely won’t want to pay for the funding of mental health care and research. On the other hand if the public is educated then they will be more willing to pay for funding. Even though we have gained a lot of knowledge about mental illness, such as how to treat symptoms, improve functions of these individuals, and how to assist these people to successfully live in the community, we as a nation still have much to learn. The research needs to be greatly expanded in order to reach effective prevention, and recovery strategies. One solution other than institutions and mental health care facilities, and research, is reducing access to guns for those who live with mental health disorders. In 2006, 51 percent of the suicides were committed with a firearm. Firearms still remain the most common method of suicide. Restricted access to guns could prove to be effective by reducing the number of suicides by firearm, in return reducing the number of overall suicides. 
In conclusion, this country is failing Americans when it comes to the mental health crises. While this nation has made great strides when it comes to many serious diseases such as AIDS, heart disease, leukemia, and strokes, the mortality rate of these diseases have lowered greatly in number. But the US is still greatly lacking when it comes to mental illnesses.America is obviously not a perfect democracy as it can’t follow some of the tenets of democracy such as individualism and minority rights. The US isn’t providing proper services for these individuals and they should have the right to have access to these services. But America is too worried about other issues and just set mental health aside, it truly is shameful.

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