TIME magazine: A failing mental health care system

Following the tragedy in Newtown, CT, earlier this month, the dialogue about the nation’s mental health care system has once again come to the forefront. Last week TIME magazine chimed in with “America’s Failing Mental Health System: Families Struggle to Find Quality Care.” 

“While it’s not clear whether mental illness— alone or in combination with a developmental disorder—played any role in the devastating tragedy in Newtown, CT, the shootings have triggered a much-needed discussion about how we care for psychiatric patients.  The debate has thrown a harsh light on the piecemeal nature of America’s mental health system, which is leaving too many children and young adults … without the resources they need,” writes Maia Szalavitz, a neuroscience journalist for Time.com.

Szalavitz points out several obstacles that are preventing the system from working efficiently and effectively. These include:

  • Access to quality care –even when the family has resources
  • No widespread system in place to support coordination between various organizations, such as between health providers, schools, court systems and drug treatment programs
  • Slashed funding at the state level, with expectations of further cuts at the federal level
  • For both adults and youth, the nation’s correctional system is treating more of the mentally ill than hospitals or residential centers
  • What works best for whom?” The mental health care system as a whole has yet to adopt and standardize the practice of continuously evaluating the effectiveness of various (non-drug) approaches for specific conditions

Learn more about Polaris’s solutions for mental health that can support interagency communication, evaluate the effectiveness of therapies and help deliver better quality care at lower costs.