Tom Watkins: Hold hospitals accountable for treating severe mental illnesses

By Tom Watkins: For Complete Post, Click Here…

COVID has exposed the inadequacies, inequities and flaws in our educational, public health and hospital system, pulling back the scab, too, on the failures of behavioral health in our state and nation.

Depression, bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, substance use and suicide: The stigma associated with these mental health maladies and disabilities knows no bounds. They are equal opportunity diseases and disabilities that affect all ZIP codes and impact one of every four people.

We know that people with mental health and substance use challenges can — with proper treatment, support and medication — recover. We also see the pain when help is unavailable, with the loss of human potential and in some cases, death by suicide.

The failure to fully invest in a comprehensive, community-based system of care is apparent to families daily.

In my jobs in key roles for over four decades in the public behavioral health systems, I have witnessed this health system unfold, personally seeing the system fail families, and losing my two brothers to suicide from substance use and depression.

We must do better by serving — not profiting — from persons with behavioral health needs.

It is not about “those people.”

“Those people” are our family members, friends and neighbors.

With these thoughts in mind, here are suggestions to help in the continued pursuit of an integrated health care system that: Maximizes public resources, is consumer and community-focused and is data-driven and evidence-based:

ngd- Go see the article; there is much to reflect on…

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