A comprehensive survey by the National Institute of Mental Health has found that most everyone will develop a mental illness sometime in his or her life, reports the NYT. There just aren’t enough government programs out there to deal with the problem! The Times’ list of these diseases leaves no doubt: social phobia, generalized anxiety disorder, conduct disorder, oppositional-defiant disorder, separation anxiety, intermittent explosive disorder, etc.. My goodness, what a mess we are.
But the NIMH has a plan–a long list of much-needed federal programs–that seems not to address the very serious problem that government intervention makes people with economics knowledge crazy. Here is the list of programs the NIMH (not described as a special interest) has to further government involvement in making us all sane and abnormally normal: * Battling to end the discrimination inherent in the private health insurance market against children and adults with mental disorders as well as substance abuse disorders;
* Obtaining legislative and regulatory protections for consumers of mental health and substance abuse services in both the public and private sectors (including access to medication and specialists, appeal procedures, right to information, and privacy safeguards);
* Increasing congressional funding, and expanding authorization, for programs to improve access to community-based mental health services, particularly for children and adolescents;
* Enacting legislation and securing funding to implement comprehensive service delivery for youth involved in the juvenile justice system who need treatment for mental health and substance abuse disorders;
* Enacting legislation to provide and improve access to community-based programs to serve adults with mental illness (as well as mental illness and co-occurring substance abuse disorders) who are involved with the criminal justice system or at risk of such involvement;
* Securing authorization and funding for integrated treatment programs for persons with co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse disorders;
* Improving the effectiveness of the Medicaid and Medicare programs for individuals with mental health and substance abuse service needs;
* Preserving and improving the State Children’s Health Insurance Program with special attention to children with mental health service needs;
* Expanding Social Security Insurance (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) eligibility through legislative and regulatory amendments;
* Supporting programs that fund low-income housing and homeless initiatives and protecting and advancing housing opportunities for mental health consumers;
* Supporting the efforts of the National Institute on Mental Health and other government research programs to expand research on mental health and mental illness; and
* Monitoring the efforts of, and advocacy to improve the level of services provided by, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in serving people with mental illnesses, as well as working to secure increased funding for VA-supported delivery of mental health services.