Mental illnesses seem like foreign conditions that strike faceless, unfamiliar people. We hear about people who suffer, but then move on in life and don’t really register the impact of having a mental illness. But mental disorders are much more prevalent that I used to think. I was particularly surprised by how many children are affected. In fact, “research shows that approximately one in five children has a diagnosable mental disorder” (1). Furthermore, there is so little governmental support for these patients, and it is startling to hear that “more than three-quarters of these children don't get the services they need, and what they do get is based purely on chance: which state they happen to live in” (1). With so few children actually receiving treatments that they should be offered to recover or at least acclimate better into society, one has to wonder about the consequences.
A serious issue that should be brought to attention is the correlation of suicide in young adults today and mental health. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, “suicide is the third leading cause of death for ages 10-24 years…[and] more than 90 percent of those who die by suicide have a diagnosable mental disorder” (2). This statistic is absolutely ludicrous considering the fact that suicide is a completely preventable and voluntary act. Furthermore, the fact that these disorders are diagnosable and these people are still not getting the care and treatment needed is unfathomable. Yes, perhaps some diseases are unpreventable and not curable, but for those that are, this issue absolutely must be addressed. And yes, while it may be more expensive to offer treatments to more people, is there any other cause than saving lives that is more worthwhile?
It is widely known that the pre-frontal cortex, a decision-making area of the brain, is less developed in adolescents, so it makes even more sense to give them extra mental health attention. Laws need to accommodate disabled people better and these statistics are proof of that.