WASHINGTON—Saying that things are only going to keep getting worse unless it’s willing to step up and make some changes, millions of frustrated Americans wondered this week why the nation’s struggling mental health system couldn’t just snap out of its funk and pull itself together.
Citing reports that an estimated 91 million Americans live in areas where shortages of mental health professionals make getting treatment difficult and that the mental health system had lost $4.35 billion in state funding from 2009–2012, exasperated citizens from across the country said they had finally reached their limit with the network of medical professionals, inpatient facilities, and long-term treatment programs that apparently lacked the willpower to improve its situation.
“Look, I know it’s been a rough couple of years and things haven’t exactly gotten any easier lately, but this can’t go on,” said Oakland, CA resident Marissa Thomas, adding she had lost all patience waiting for the mental health system to stop wallowing in its struggles and make a concerted effort to get its act together. “Eventually, it’s got to want to fix itself.”
“No one’s going to waltz in one day, wave a magic wand, and make all these troubles disappear,” continued Thomas, who said she was “beyond exhausted” with the mental health system’s inability to accommodate the estimated 600,000 severely mentally ill individuals who annually end up homeless, in prisons, or dead from suicide. “It just keeps having the same issues over and over again and doesn’t do a thing about them. I’m pretty much numb to it at this point.”
As the nation’s mental health care system continues to sink deeper and deeper into despair, even failing to perform basic tasks such as routine mental health evaluations and emergency counseling services, Americans have reportedly begun to wonder if it has any desire at all to take responsibility for its current state or if it will just continue to burden the people close to it.
Many also expressed alarm at the struggling system’s potential to cause harm not only to itself but others as well.
“I honestly don’t feel comfortable being around it anymore,” said Raleigh, NC resident Patrick Leets, noting that the nation’s network of behavior health services only makes things worse by comparing itself to free and universally accessible systems like the United Kingdom’s. “It’s just so unpredictable. Until it finally recognizes what’s best for it and puts in some actual initiative to get back on its feet, I’m keeping my distance.”
“I mean, Christ, look at the education system—it’s been in terrible shape for years, but it’s doing what it can to make the best of a difficult situation,” he added.
Sources confirmed that many citizens have found supporting the troubled mental health system a hopeless exercise, saying that it simply needs to decide whether it wants to get well or waste away.
“To be honest, it’s getting to a point where I feel like I just need to wash my hands clean of the situation,” said Anna Kivolowitz of Salem, OR. “I relied on the mental health care system for years, but now I realize I just can’t do it anymore. If it doesn’t want to take care of itself, there’s no way it’ll be there for me.”
“But it’s out of my control,” she added. “I’m done dealing with it. I’m just done.”
At press time, Americans said they were sorry and that they hadn’t meant to come off so harshly because they knew their mental health system didn’t want to be a problem, all the while reportedly resigning themselves to the fact that this was probably as healthy as the system was ever going to be.