In his Sunday column of the New York Times, Nicholas Kristof offers his suggestions for the “Most Neglected Topic” of 2014. There is certainly a lot to choose from: political battles that shut down the government, ongoing war in the Middle East, lack of functionality of the ACA website.
In the opinion of Kristof, however, we aren’t paying enough attention to mental health issues in this country. And he shares similar views to comments I observed in Tuesday’s CFYM post. Both Kristof and commenters suggested that the media bears some responsibility for the problem. When the media does cover mental health issues, they do so in a negative light exasperating the issue of stigma and ultimately keeping people from seeking help for a mental health condition.
We agree with Kristof that we need to break the taboos associated with mental health conditions. All over this country peers and their family and friends are living in silence. That notion in and of itself is a shame, since mental health conditions are treatable. People do recover and lead productive lives – lives that include healthy relationships, careers if they want them, community attachments, and sustainable living arrangements.
Mr. Kristof suggests several options for improving mental health care, from providing more peer support, to early intervention for children. So while Kristof ended his op-ed piece asking readers to submit their thoughts on what they feel is the most neglected issues of 2014, we’re going to agree with Kristof that under-served delivery of mental health care is the most neglected topic for 2014, and ask for your ideas on what you think are the best ways to improve access to quality mental health care in 2014.
- How can your community improve the delivery of mental health care?
- What can you personally do to see changes are made in the delivery of mental health care in your community?