There has been much chatter on the news of late addressing how to improve the chances that those with mental illness get the help they need. The improvement of the health care industry is being addressed, yet I have found the focus is in the wrong place. The problem is not about guns, and thus the solution is not about guns. The problem is not about committing clients into a hospital as needed, and thus the solution is not about committing. Guns, committing, these and other issues are all pieces of the puzzle- absolutely. I am not suggesting we ignore the topic of guns, of committing, nor the many other topics that are of significance to explore and consider the role they play. Do know this; they are just but simply 2 of the many symptoms of a bigger problem. If you break it down to what the underbelly of the problem is then you can figure out what the solution is.
As a mental health and wellness professional since 1993, I will tell you that it has been my experience that the solution for a problem, any problem, is found within the deeper problem. We often get side tracked addressing the “presenting problem”, which is just that- the problem that is presenting itself. That is the first mistake, error 101 is trying to resolve the mask and thinking that the underlying problem will cease to exist. Certainly we must not ignore presenting problems, we must address them wisely. Addressing and working on presenting problems is of significance, but we must not get lost in that and dismiss what is in the background lurking. For if we get lost the problem will continue to grow and presenting problems will continue to expand in quantity and quality.
What I have found interesting about this particular topic of mental health care is that the solution, the real solution for real people has yet to be discussed. I am interested in sharing what we are all missing and that is that there are far too many people who do not get the help that they need. I often share on television (e.g., O’Reilly, Hannity, Cavuto, FOX & Friends, FOX 25), on the radio, with my clients in the office, and have written many blogs – addressing the importance of taking responsibility for one’s own mental health- that certainly is a major issue! In addition, today’s blog article will focus on the additional 3 main reasons far too many people do not get the help that they need:
- Therapist they want to see does not take their insurance
Therefore, the solution needs to resolve these top 3 problems and offer a solution. I am deeply concerned. I feel we are in a mental health and wellness crisis in our culture.
Dr. Karen Ruskin’s 3 Step Business Plan – Solution Resolution Plan For Talk Therapy: F.S.I.
- Financial – Dumping client deductibles, decreasing co-payments – that is my recommendation. (The past several years I have seen this travesty of the increase in deductibles and co-payments. It is ludicrous – the financial requirements make it impossible for affordable counseling for far too many).
- Stigma – Decrease the stigma of talk therapy and increase awareness. (e.g., Television commercials and programs can include the concept of talk therapy rather than about pill popping. Commercials for Xanax, Prozac, and other psychotropic drugs are common, which has decreased the stigma in getting pills. Commercials rather for talk therapy, TV shows displaying therapists helping people, celebrities discussing the advantages of talk therapy- that is what I would like to see an increase in to decrease the stigma).
- Increase fee rates for talk therapists – In the past 20 years the insurance fee structure has not increased for the payment of talk therapists. In fact, it has decreased in some cases. This has led to a decrease in options for clients to see the therapist who is the best fit for them if the therapist no longer accepts their insurance. Remember, therapists have families to support too and if they are not getting paid appropriately it affects their decision to remain on a particular insurance panel. This lack of appropriate fee structure for therapists decreases the “full service model” that some clients at risk need.
This blog is a brief summary of my 3 step solution resolution plan. If you wish to learn more about it or have any questions, do not hesitate to comment directly on this blog.