Of all health awareness issues and causes, mental health remains an under-represented topic.
World Health Day is more than an opportunity to complain about our rising health insurance premiums. Health coverage differs all around the world, and of course, the U.S. doesn’t rank as one of the best. This includes the lack of mental health services.
The Best Place In The World To Live With Mental Illness
According to a Psychology Today article, World’s Best and Worst Places To Be Mentally Ill Trieste, Italy is where you need to live to access mental health services. This is partly due to Italian culture promoting family, and mental health is a top priority. Trieste offers four major mental health community centers that each service roughly 60,000 citizens.
They offer an open door, restraint-free facility that welcomes family and friends. The design is appealing with nice furniture, an aesthetically pleasing living environment, and a plethora of exercise and group activities. This 24-hour facility offers around the clock support. There is no shaming those who suffer from a mental illness in Trieste. Instead, there are plenty of rehabilitation opportunities and even assistance for the financially disadvantaged. This especially helps patients struggling with drug and alcohol abuse.
Clinics in Trieste offer customized assistance plans because not one treatment fits all. The tailored approach extends to home visits so health professionals can get a better understanding of a patient’s environment and family. Additionally, therapy stresses the importance of social engagements, building positive support systems, and creating job opportunities through work placement.
The U.S. Needs To Improve Its Mental Health Care
On the contrary, many mentally ill people within the United States are homeless, friendless, and left to suffer alone. We cringe as we hear them talking to themselves or implore them to simply “get a job” and “snap out of it” In fact, mental illness and homelessness are connected, as 30 percent of homeless individuals nationwide suffer from a serious mental health issue. Meanwhile, 60 to 70 percent of homeless individuals with a mental illness also have a drug or alcohol problem.
Rather than take advantage of rehabilitation centers for their substance abuse, they are turned out in the streets and live life as homeless. Good mental health is more than telling someone to “think positive” or “get some exercise” or “you’re probably just tired” or “go to church” or “it can’t be that bad.” The worst of these lines is “God’s not going to give you what you can’t handle,” that one is the real kicker. Try feeding that line to a whopping 50 percent of individuals who committed suicide as a result of major depression. In 2016 alone, 44,965 individuals took their own life.
‘Depressed’ Is Not A Word To Be Used Casually
Depression itself is a condition that is often overlooked because it’s a word that people throw around too casually. “I’m depressed” or “What a depressing day” or “That song is so depressing.” Sometimes depression is a lifelong struggle, and other times it is ignited by situational circumstances. Regardless, happiness is not a light switch. Sometimes people are able to “turn it on and off,” but I call them actors. It’s not a coincidence, I believe, that many Hollywood professionals and creative people suffer mental health issues. But most of us are not in front of a camera or on a theater stage. We aren’t capable or trained to turn our emotions on and off or to turn our “frown upside down.”
But those of us who have been clinically diagnosed with major depression understand that, like the word “love,” “depressed” should not be thrown around lightly. It’s not like someone spilled your coffee or snagged your parking space. Those who truly battle with the disorder understand that the phrase “I’m depressed” is not a casual phrase to be overused. Because of the overuse of the word, many family and friends underestimate the impact depression has on a loved one’s everyday life.
It’s important to not take our mental health lightly. If you are clinically depressed or suffer from a mental health issue, get help. Even if your insurance is lacking. Call your health care provider or go to the emergency room.
Where in the World to Find the Best Health Care
Here are the top 10 countries that offer the best health benefits. The United States is unfortunately not on the list.
- United Kingdom
- New Zealand
The Bottom Line:
Even if you have decent health insurance, it’s not always easy getting the proper care you need. Trust me. I’ve encountered a shortage of therapists at Kaiser Permanente, which touts online how important mental health is to its members but has drawn the ire of regulators in California. I, too, encountered long waits to even get an initial meeting with a caseworker, which was necessary for a referral to a psychiatric professional.
Kaiser finally allowed me to go outside of the network, but I still had to select an approved provider, which caused further delays. The fact that the process was so bureaucratic was the biggest hurdle. And I was one of the lucky ones. Far too many people who need help and are actively seeking it, instead, grow discouraged as they wait weeks and even months to book an appointment through their insurance provider. And we wonder why so many people self-medicate?
Whether or not you’re currently receiving the care you need, and regardless if you are unable to move to a different country for better mental health services, the most important thing to do is never give up. Never give up on your ambitions to live a healthy, productive, and joy-filled life. You can conquer or at least manage depression and other related mental health issues.
For more on World Health Day, please visit these contributing bloggers on the subject:
NOTE: Links will be udated as they are published!
Mylene Orillo: The Truth About Getting Sick in the Philippines
Ipuna Black: Health is a State of Balance: Mind, Body, Spirit
Jothish Joseph: Are You Healthy?
Sadaf Siddiqi: Health is Wealth
Tajwar Fatma: World Health Day
Sonyo Estavillo: #WorldHealthDay & Why #MentalHealthMatters
Nicolle K.: Alert: A Collaboration to Everyone’s Health!
Divyang Shah: World Health Day!
Gelyka Ruth Dumaraos: How My Father’s Health Condition Made Me Shift To A Healthier Lifestyle