Posts Tagged "treatment"
February 14, 2023
Mental Health Care is Crucial Disability Need
During the pandemic, calls to mental health hotlines soared. People in emotional distress learned that psychologists were booked months in advance or were completely unavailable.
While COVID dramatized the need for mental health treatment generally, new research reveals how important being treated is to people with disabilities.
Isaac Swensen and Carly Urban at Montana State University found that ready access to outpatient care slightly increases applications for disability benefits by working-age people under Social Security’s insurance program and by poor and marginally employed workers under the companion program, Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Mental illness in its severest forms can interfere with the ability to work, making some individuals eligible for federal disability assistance. But to qualify, the Social Security Administration requires that applicants submit a diagnosis from a medical professional. Applicants with mental illness living in areas with more treatment options, the researchers explained, are potentially able to obtain a proper diagnosis.
Getting people the help they need can increase their reliance on social safety nets. But access to successful treatment – whether the individual has a cognitive or physical disability – might also arguably prevent some severe conditions that make people eligible for disability benefits in the first place. …
April 21, 2022
Mental Health Crisis is an Inequality Problem
The connection between Americans’ socioeconomic status (SES) and their health was established long ago and the evidence keeps piling up.
Less-educated, lower-income workers suffer more medical conditions ranging from arthritis to obesity and diabetes. And the increase in life expectancy for less-educated 50-year-olds was, in most cases, roughly 40 percent of the gains for people with higher socioeconomic status between 2006 and 2018.
More recently researchers have connected SES and mental health. The foundations are laid in childhood. In one study, the children and teenagers of parents with more financial stresses – job losses, large debts, divorce, or serious illness – have worse mental health. And COVID has only aggravated the nation’s mental health crisis.
In a new book, Dr. Thomas Insel, former director of the National Institute of Mental Health, is concerned about the impact of inequality.
Mental health in disadvantaged communities “is worse because of the world outside of health care. It’s our housing crisis, our poverty crisis, our racial crisis, our increasing social disparities that weigh heaviest on those in need,” he writes in “Healing: Our Path from Mental Illness to Mental Health.” …Learn More
August 5, 2021
Aging Minorities Struggle in Drug Treatment
For baby boomers who have abused drugs or alcohol for years or decades, the negative health consequences of addiction are particularly damaging.
But information about older Americans’ success in substance abuse programs is sparse, even though people between 55 and 75 now make up 22 percent of all U.S. overdose deaths, up from 9 percent in the late 1990s. And virtually no racial breakdown of treatment outcomes is available for this age group.
A new study by Jevay Grooms at Howard University and Alberto Ortega at Indiana University fills this gap. The researchers find that the number of older Black, white and Hispanic Americans admitted to treatment facilities and programs is steadily increasing.
The biggest growth in Black admissions was in cocaine and heroin treatment, while the rise for whites was concentrated in prescription opioids and alcohol treatment. The largest increase for Hispanics was for heroin addiction.
Amid rising admissions, however, the share of people 50 and older who completed treatment has generally trended down for each group during the period of this analysis, 2006 through 2017, though the rates bounce around quite a bit from year to year.
To gauge how each group fared over the period, the analysis controlled for various factors that determine success or failure, including education levels, employment status, and past attempts at treatment.
Older Blacks – and, to a lesser extent, Hispanics – are not as likely as older whites to successfully finish a substance abuse program. One reason is that minorities are more likely to be terminated by a treatment facility or program. Just as worrisome, however, are the widening disparities in the rates of treatment completion between each older minority group and their white counterparts – even as the disparities were closing for Blacks and Hispanics under 50.
The researchers did not dissect the reasons for treatments being terminated but noted that “lack of insurance, social stigma, distrust, lack of diversity and cultural incompetence among providers” are likely contributing factors in the racial differences. …Learn More