Mental Health

Mental Health

It makes no sense that if someone has a broken bone, we will tell them to go see a doctor for treatment; but if their brain has a treatable chemical imbalance, then we stigmatize those who seek treatment.  The human body is not perfect, and things go wrong with it.  If what is going wrong is a chemical issue, we should absolutely encourage that person to seek treatment, and make sure they can stay functioning members of our society. Even in cases where there is no specific imbalance, but a person is simply experiencing depression or going through a trauma, and needs counseling or therapy, we must expand access to these mental health services.

I remember meeting with a Washington DC Assistant Public Defender a few years ago.  They had a defendant who had been acting erratically and assaulted someone.  While in jail awaiting trial, he was given a proper assessment, diagnosis, and treatment, such that by the time trial came, he was no longer the same person who had committed the assault.  We need to be proactively treating these conditions before they escalate, and someone gets hurt.

No matter how much we may think it will cost, it is far less than the cost of our friends, family, or neighbors committing suicide, losing their jobs, ending up homeless<<link to homelessness>>, or harming someone and ending up in the justice system.