Mental Illness Knows No Social BoundariesMarch 14th, 2011
Mental health programs across the US are in crisis after many states severely reduced budget funding for mental health services yet again this year. In California alone, funding for mental health care as been cut by $587 million, or 16 percent, in the past 2 ½ years.
Often our clients struggle with mental illness which, as with physical illness, only becomes exacerbated due to lack of proper treatment. Our patients at St. Anthony Free Medical Clinic already struggle to meet basic needs such as food and shelter – the suffering of poverty compounded by untreated mental illness is a nightmare many are forced to live with. Because of the fear, misunderstanding, and stigma associated with mental illness, these individuals find themselves targets for abuse on the street or arrest and imprisonment. It is difficult enough for a mentally capable individual juggling three low-income jobs to pay rent for a single room occupancy apartment here in the Tenderloin: for someone with untreated mental illness? Nearly impossible. By continuing to cut funding to necessary mental health programs, we are “abandoning [people], kicking them out of their homes, leaving them to go back to overcrowded prisons and back to the streets” – as one social worker put it in The Sacramento Bee.
Mental illness knows no social boundaries. It affects the rich and the poor. These cuts condemn those who rely on community mental health services to unjust pain and suffering simply because they lack the means to access the care they need to be well.
At St. Anthony Free Medical Clinic we believe in holistic care. We offer mental health therapy in-house and strive to incorporate positive mental well-being into all our patients’ lives. Our outpatient mental health program offers both individual and group therapy options in a variety of approaches to positively manage anger, depression, stress, and anxiety. We focus on a combination of cognitive therapy and meditation techniques to help patients overcome mood triggers and manage their own mental health. We’ve seen particular success in women from our Latina Support Group where women come once a week to discuss the hardships of isolation, culture shock, and recent immigration and learn simple meditation techniques they can use at home to alleviate stress. At St. Anthony Free Medical Clinic, we empower patients, providing them with the primary care they need to stay healthy and offering healthcare support in times when they are not, all free of charge.
Tags: mental health