The State of Mental Health and Affordable Housing in America">The State of Mental Health and Affordable Housing in America

June 14, 2022 3:13 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

The State of Mental Health and

Affordable Housing in America

The Covid Pandemic has put a spotlight on the importance of overall health. This does not just  mean washing your hands and social distancing. Mental Health is at the forefront of America’s most important concerns. Right before the pandemic Mental Health America reported “In 2019, just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 19.86% of adults experienced a mental illness, equivalent to nearly 50 million Americans.”[1] Similarly the Kaiser Family Foundation has found, “During the pandemic, about 4 in 10 adults in the U.S. have reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder, a share that has been largely consistent, up from one in ten adults who reported these symptoms from January to June 2019 (Figure 1).” [2] What does this mean for Americans? This growing trend in a time of uncertainty exemplifies the importance of having readily available aid for mental health emergencies. Attending therapy sessions on a regular basis can not only serve to be beneficial, but essential for living a healthy and fulfilling life. As Americans we routinely visit doctors,dentists, and optometrists. These visits help boost vitality and physical health. A good therapist should work similarly towards improving one’s mental health and overall view of life. However therapy like any type of medical treatment is not a perfect science. Doctors will only have a general idea of the reason for your visit based on what you tell them. Providing doctors with the information necessary to make an assessment is not very different from a patient therapist relationship. This is a key factor in why preventive healthcare is essential to combating mental health issues.

The Journal of Big Data points out that, “It is estimated that only 8% of Americans undergo routine preventive screenings. On a national level, very few states (15 out of the 50) have above-average preventive healthcare metrics.” [3] Couple this with the fact that MedCity News reports, “Healthcare is becoming increasingly unaffordable, with 18% of Americans saying in a new survey that they would not be able to afford the care they need.” [4] Our lives have their own peaks and valleys and at times can be unfair. One of the most important facets of maintaining one’s mental health or doing well in life in general is stability. Some of the biggest factors that could lead to someone facing instability in life could be lack of adequate housing, lack of financial resources, and lack of a strong support system. CNBC covered a Harvard study that indicates almost 40 million Americans, “live in housing they cannot afford.” [5] Rent has increased as home ownership has decreased which is a frightening trend. America is the richest country in the world, creating affordable housing structures should be a priority no matter the cost. 564,708 Americans are currently homeless and about 250,000 or 45% of these Americans suffer from some degree of mental illness.[6] Inadequate housing situations or minimal financial security can make prioritizing mental health concerns difficult for many Americans. The main issue is investors must be incentivized to invest into properties that may not make a huge return. [7] This is why leaders and legislation that seek to improve the lives of Americans suffering from the current mental health crisis is imperative. As Americans we know the importance of having healthy, thriving, and productive citizens makes us a strong nation. Balancing one’s own pocket book should never be put ahead of the needs of our nation’s citizens. Combating the current mental health crisis has to be one of Congress’s top priorities.  

[1]Mental Health America Team Statement,“The State Of Mental Health In America.”,https://mhanational.org/issues/state-mental-health-america, 2022 Data Set,(p.1)

[2]Cox, Garfield, Kamal, and Panchal,“The Implications of COVID-19 for Mental Health and Substance Use.”,Feb 10, 2021,(p.2)

[3]Bataresh,Chong,Ghassib,and Su,“Preventive healthcare policies in the US: solutions for disease management using Big Data Analytics.”,https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7309216/#__ffn_sectitle ,June 23,2020, (p.2)

[4] Vaidya,“Survey: 1 in 5 Americans can’t afford necessary care.” https://medcitynews.com/2021/04/survey-1-in-5-americans-cant-afford-necessary-care/,Apr 1, 2021,(p.1)

[5] Bloom, “A shocking number of Americans live in housing they can’t afford, according to Harvard study.”,https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2017/07/13/harvard-study-heres-how-many-americans-cant-afford-housing.html, July 13,2019, (p.1)

[6] Torrey,“250,000 mentally Ill are Homeless. 140,000 seriously mentally Ill are Homeless.”,https://mentalillnesspolicy.org/consequences/homeless-mentally-ill.html, July 9,2016,(p.1)

[7] Blumenthal and Jordan,COPYRIGHT © URBAN INSTITUTE JULY 2016. VIEW THIS PROJECT ON GITHUB, “The cost of affordable housing:Does it pencil out?”,https://apps.urban.org/features/cost-of-affordable-housing/, July 2016, (Introduction, p.1)

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This post was written by Marsha

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