I live in Georgia, USA. Recently, I have started the process of official psychiatric testing to see if I qualify for a service animal, and to help get me on the right track to having the proper medication to help my mental health status improve.
As you can imagine, even with insurance (my insurance only covered three of the six-to-eight hours worth of testing), mental health care is not the most affordable thing for the average American. My receipt shows a pretty average cost for this kind of testing. Most psychiatric testing services cost anywhere from 500 US dollars up to 1200 US dollars, possibly more! Many forms of American insurance will not cover this kind of testing. If they do, it’s hardly anything (such as mine, only three hours worth of testing).
Many Americans are in desperate need of mental health services and treatment. Many psychologists recommend official testing, so they can create a plan to best accommodate your own mental health needs. I am lucky with my own medication for mental health costing only about $8.50 per month. However, many other forms of medication often cost much more. For many Americans, this means deciding between medication to help keep suicidal thoughts at bay, or deciding if they can put food on the table.
Mental health care insurance saves lives and improves overall quality of life.
I can not stress this enough. If healthcare insurances actually cover mental health care at a decent rate (I am NOT asking for healthcare to be free, I am asking for it to be affordable to the average American making an average of 45–60k per year), then the overall quality of life will greatly improve. It means people overcome with anxiety will actually be able to leave their homes. It means people who are suicidally depressed will actually be able to afford counseling and medication to help them be active in everyday society with a genuine smile on their face. It means people with severe anger management issues will be able to interact with coworkers and family members, without fear of a potential lawsuit (or someone ending up six feet under, or in the hospital).
We need to erase the stigma associated with mental health care. Books, movies, and other forms of mass media need to stop romanticizing mental health and pushing the myth of “pills are the devil in disguise”. We need to encourage open communication about mental health care and learn about mental health issues in school (depression, anxiety, eating disorder, schizophrenia, etc). Tackling even a small portion of these issues will mean an overall improvement in the average American and thus, reduce the burden on our hospitals and prisons.