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Mental health discussion heating up in NC

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WILMINGTON -- The discussion about the state's failing mental health system is heating up. Tuesday Gov. Easley asked state legislators to give his administration more authority to fix the system, a system which local agencies say is plagued with problems. A shortage of state funds for mental health, substance abuse and developmental disability treatments means some people are left without the proper treatment. Kenny House oversees several programs at the Coastal Horizons Center, including the drug treatment program. With state mental health funds on the decline, people who aren't considered to have an urgent condition, may lose the help they need. House said, "It may be someone who has a substance abuse problem but isn't in the immediate need needing to be assisted with detoxification, someone who may not be experiencing immediate withdrawl symptoms." House said a significant amount of the center's roughly 1,000 clients rely on state funding. Coastal Horizons is setting up alternative programs so those in need won't fall through the cracks. He said, "It's just difficult for those folks who don't have insurance, don't have medicaid, don't meet those urgent criteria, who oftentimes really need treatment." House hopes the state funding crisis will be fixed by the start of next fiscal year, beginning in July. In the meantime, he doesn't want to turn anyone away and said he and his co-workers will do what it takes to give people the care they need. "We want them to be able to get counseling right when they're ready for it because that's the time to engage them in the recovery process. We don't want to to wait till it's more severe," House said. Governor Easley announced Tuesday he wants to return accountability to the state's mental health system and make it more responsive to patients' needs. Kenny House encourages people who are affected by the funding shortage to call local facilities, such as Coastal Horizons, to see if they are offering alternative programs until the shortage is alleviated.

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Mental health

I myself have a mental illness, I have Anxiety,panic disorder, agoraphobia, OCD depression and Bipolar....I didnt ask for any of this...there are days I can't leave my bedroom, it is living in hell, I take medications and they do help to a point, but SSRI's and benzo's can only be taken for so long.....people who are mentally ill need help in a bad way, some of us can't even work because our illness is so disabling

Mental Health

There is a lot of free help groups out there, look in the newspaper. Put children with other children feeling the same way, it' the best help ever, it helps for them to get their feeling out which they usually won't open up to a professional. It feels good to feel good again.

Allow me to disagree

We don't fund it in the amount they'd like because the definition of "mental illness" has been expanded so much as to establish "mental health" as a money-making industry. A quarter of us can't make it through the day without popping SSRIs like they're tic-tacs. When a classmate dies, we have to send "grief counselors" into the schools to "help their fellow students get through the trauma." Johnny isn't just a rotten kid who needs parental discipline, he now "has a problem" and needs counseling. Mary isn't just a wild party girl, she needs counseling. Ralph, the homeless addict, isn't a simple bum any more, he's now mentally ill. When did we become so weak and soft? Is this the nation that defeated facism and put men on the moon? We're now too spineless to look a person in the eyes and say, "Clean up your act and start pulling your own weight?" Yes, there are people who are truly mentally ill and need medication or even to be placed in an institution, but the definition of "mental illness" has been so abused that this plea for money is just one more group of businessmen lining up with their hands out to receive some of your tax dollars. The trouble is, the well is running dry. The government can't be all things to all people unless you plan on handing your paycheck over to the government so that they can fund everyone's feel-good project.

It was the state's decision

It was the state's decision to define it as such... not the decision of the practicing clinicians. Voice your concerns with the legislators... we have... countless times. Also, don't limit your argument to mental health... b/c it isn't just their fault. It's overall within the entire healthcare system. There is no prevention care and so everyone arrives in crisis and that is simply much more expensive to treat. Is it cheaper to educate someone on diet or amputate their foot when their diabetes goes south? Same with mental health... prevention, education, support services... none of those things are encouraged. Drug companies are shameful... a combination of pill pushing drug reps and ignorant (yes, I said that...) physicians who legitimately do NOT understand the science behind the medications are responsible for the overprescription of medications... not mental health profs...

Mental health

Mental health treatment is still fairly stigmatized, truth be told. This is changing, albiet slowly. The problem is multi-layered: the severely mentally ill don't pay many taxes and are not a strong voting block. Additonally, as a profession, mental health practicioners do a poor job of articulaing what it is we do and how it benefits society, and we still do not have parity with the medical professions. For example, for every dollar spent on mental health intervention within a MEDICAL facility, 2-3 dollars are saved over the long term (5-15 years). For early (child) intervention programs, most of which are actually poorly funded and staffed, there is STILL a measurable savings down the line. We as a culture are too short sighted to pump the needed funds into these kinds of programs. But given the fact that mental illness will touch ALL of our lives eventually (friend, family, self) it behooves us to give this problem real consideration. But we cannot solve a problem at the same level at which it was created. It will take real leadership and tenacity to overcome the built-in prejudices against the mentally ill. We need to get away from the stigma of mental illness and into the compassion business again.

mental health

The mental health profession has long been underfunded, misunderstood and overlooked by physicians, health insurance and by much of society. Mental health is every bit as important as physical health yet is often misdiagnosed by under trained physicians. This problem is more "common" than you might think. It can often lead to depression, self loathing and cynicism. Some psychiatrists have observed severe cases of paranoia where people feel a need to arm themselves preforming normal everyday activities. How do we fix this problem, your "guess" is as good as mine?

I could not agree more with

I could not agree more with the governor