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Mental Illness in America: How Do We Address a Growing Problem? (NIFI Issue Guide)

The 13-page issue guide from National Issues Forums, Mental Illness in America: How Do We Address a Growing Problem?, was published November 2014. The issue guide gives three options for discussion on how mental illness can better be addressed in the US. Below is an excerpt from the guide and it can be downloaded from NIFI’s site here.NIFI_Mental Illness

From the guide…

Many Americans share a sense that something is wrong when it comes to treatment of mental illness. More and more of us are taking medications for depression and other disorders. Meanwhile, dangerous illnesses are going undetected and untreated. What can be done to keep us safer and healthier?

One in five Americans will have mental health problems in any given year. Unaddressed mental illness hurts individuals and their families and results in lost productivity. In rare cases, it can result in violence.

This issue guide presents a framework that asks: How can we reduce the impact of mental illness in America?

The issue guide presents three options for consideration:

Option One: “Put safety first”
This option holds that more preventive action is necessary to deal with mentally ill individuals who are potentially dangerous to themselves or others. We should identify those who need help and intervene where necessary to prevent them from harming themselves and others. These individuals should be sought out and their needs addressed.

Option Two: “Ensure mental health services are available to all who need them”
This option holds that people should be encouraged to take control over their own mental health and be provided the tools to do so. We should make sure that everyone who wishes can get the needed help.

Option Three: “Let people plot their own course”
This option holds that we should not rely on so many medical approaches. We should reduce our dependence on drugs and allow people the freedom to plot their own course to healthy lives. In many cases, simple changes to lifestyle can improve mental health.

About NIFI Issue Guides
NIFI’s Issue Guides introduce participants to several choices or approaches to consider. Rather than conforming to any single public proposal, each choice reflects widely held concerns and principles. Panels of experts review manuscripts to make sure the choices are presented accurately and fairly. By intention, Issue Guides do not identify individuals or organizations with partisan labels, such as Democratic, Republican, conservative, or liberal. The goal is to present ideas in a fresh way that encourages readers to judge them on their merit.

Issue Guides are generally available in print or PDF download for a small fee ($2 to $4). All NIFI Issue Guides and associated tools can be accessed at www.nifi.org/en/issue-guides.

Follow on Twitter: @NIForums

Resource Link: www.nifi.org/en/catalog/product/mental-illness-america-issue-guide-downloadable-pdf

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