America needs to fix the Behavioral Healthcare System

The recent spate of high-profile suicides have made it evident that mental illness doesn’t discriminate, it is chronic and can have deadly consequences- even for those people who are considered as most successful in our society.

Though these publicized tragedies have helped in eroding the stigma around mental illness, the behavioral health care delivery system seems to remain broken. Infact, if it has to be fixed, it would require rapid, radical innovation that is supported and facilitated on a national level, which includes both public and private innovation.

Around 20% of American adults will experience mental illness as noted by the National Institute of Mental Health. 3% to 4% will suffer from a serious mental illness. Yet the organization estimates that roughly half of the Americans suffering from mental illness do not receive treatment.

There exists a clinician shortage, not just psychiatrists, but the entire gamut of behavioral health professionals, including psychologists, social workers, psychiatric nurses and behavioral health counselors. Meanwhile, the dearth of clinicians is further compounded by a lack of necessary infrastructure.

Behavioral health engagement involves some vital steps that can treat mental illness patients.