WHO (World Health Organization), explains that mental health is “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and can make a contribution to his or her community.” WHO emphasizes that mental health “is not just the absence of mental disorder.”
WHO verifies that mental health services are very underfunded. Most resources are channeled into treating and caring for mentally ill patients, rather than on an integrated mental health system. They say along with providing care in large psychiatric hospitals, mental health should be integrated into primary health care (general practice), be provided for in general hospitals, and there should be improvements and provisions in community-based mental health services.
In the UK, Canada, the U.S. and much of the developed world, mental illness are the leading cause of disability among people aged 15 to 44.
- Our plan apportions funding for services that help families living with mental illness.
In the U.S. alone, staggering numbers of people (one in 17) live with a serious mental illness such as major depression, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder.1 About one in ten children live with a serious mental disorder.2
States cumulatively cut more than $1.8 billion from mental health services for adults and children between 2009 and 2011 and have continued to decrease funding. State mental health cuts have affected public safety and surprisingly more violent acts against those living with mental illness than the rest of the population. Communities, everyday experience the effects of mental illness with —“suicides, homelessness, arrests, incarceration, school dropout and more.” 3 Personal tragedies occur because of our failure to provide access to effective mental health services and supports. The ITIG policy addresses this national crisis and has dedicated essential funding for mental health services and support.
1National Institute of Mental Health, “The Numbers Count – Mental Disorders in America.”
2 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General, Rockville, Md., 1999, PP408-409, 411