If you ever try to ask a person about their experience navigating the mental healthcare system, be ready to hear adjectives like ‘difficult,’ ‘expensive,’ and ‘discouraging.’ Unfortunately, these are the first set of words associated with trying to find the right mental healthcare for you.
Even though we have taken considerable strides in talking about mental health, professional mental healthcare and treatment are still a luxury that most people can’t afford. The decades of stigma and discrimination against mental health issues have left both patients and the medical fraternity with serious challenges.
As we celebrate World Health Day on April 7th this year, it is crucial to take a step back, reflect on the state of mental healthcare in our country and the world as a whole, and take important steps to bridge the gap. For most of us, the last few years have been filled with uncertainty, doubts, and anxiousness – making it even more difficult to ignore the consequences of inaccessible and highly discriminatory mental healthcare.
This year’s World Health Day theme is ‘health for all.’ It is a call to action for all of us to ensure that everywhere in the world, people are equipped with accessible and inclusive resources to lead healthy and happy lives.
To celebrate World Health Day this year, let us dive deeper into what inclusive and accessible mental healthcare for all means and what we can do to achieve it.
What Does Inclusive And Accessible Mental Healthcare For All Mean?
Inclusive and accessible mental healthcare is a form of social justice. Simply put, it means equal and unbiased access to all forms of mental health services and supports to people irrespective of their gender, creed, ethnicity, religion, etc.
With that being said, it is essential to understand that equal mental healthcare for all is a distant dream. Equal access is not the starting point of this journey. In fact, it is the end product of a long and challenging journey of financial support and affordable care, increased awareness, and equal representation and understanding of the needs and problems of each individual. Equal access does not stay limited to affordability. It also means creating a system that understands the social conditions of individuals. This system should resist and reject all forms of marginalization and discrimination. It should support the needs of historically oppressed and marginalized communities with the right sensitivity and care.
Additionally, we need to understand that equal access does not necessarily mean equal treatment of all individuals. This is because we need to accept that mainstream narratives and misinformed opinions put certain groups of people at a gross disadvantage. And we cannot start off on the same pedestal. Therefore, more care and support need to be provided to those who have been treated unequally.
Now that you know what equal and inclusive mental health care for all means, let us take you to the next step. This World Health Day, let us see how we can provide more convenient accessible mental health care to all.
How To Make Mental Health Care For All More Inclusive And Accessible?
1. Inclusive and more understanding professionals.
The onus of creating a safe, empathetic, and non-judgmental space for all people lies mainly on the professionals in the field of mental healthcare. Mental healthcare professionals need to be highly aware and sensitive to various metrics. They need to be open to learning about the differences in the lives of people and help their patients become more accommodating and learn too. They need to be aware of their inherent biases and must work to overcome them or refuse clients they might not be able to help fully without prejudice.
2. Integrating mental healthcare with primary care.
Another way to make mental healthcare more accessible is by integrating it with primary care. It means adding screening processes and front-line practitioners at the primary level, where most patients interact with the healthcare system. This will mean having primary care doctors flag cases that require further evaluation by psychiatrists and other mental healthcare professionals. This structure has been implemented in several spaces and is called collaborative care. Collaborative care allows more streamlined services and better management of patients.
3. Technology-based tools.
Technology is at the heart of any significant development in almost all spheres of human life. In mental healthcare, too, new technologies can help expand and improve the scope of care provided by professionals. Software-based tools and online mental health therapy sessions are some of the most effective inductions of technology in the mental healthcare space. Although there is a long way to go to see the actual impact of these developments, technology has proven itself as a significant positive contribution to making mental healthcare more accessible to all.
Read more: Best Online Therapy Platforms
The theme of World Health Day 2023, ‘health for all,’ is a significant opportunity for us as a global society to focus and direct resources toward making mental healthcare available to all. We hope this post will serve as a starting point for discussions about providing affordable and quality care to people and helping them lead happy and healthy life ahead.
On the occasion of World Health Day, it is crucial to understand what policymakers have been doing to provide accessible mental health care for all. Here are the most important mental health bills in the process currently.
To continue learning about mental health daily, subscribe to Your Mental Health Pal.