After comedian Robin Williams died, we asked how someone with access to the best help in the world wasn’t able to find what he needed. Boston Globe columnist Kevin Cullen noted that for Williams, money was no barrier to the best possible care. So what’s the verdict for ordinary people who are trying to find the help they need? “Accessing mental health care is getting harder, not easier,” Cullen wrote. “It’s getting more expensive for families, not less.”
For a select group of our country’s youth, the Affordable Care Act is good news. A recent study found that more young people are getting the mental health care and substance abuse treatment they need, thanks to the change allowing them to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26. This is excellent progress. But what about teens and young adults who have few resources, whose parents are uninsured and dealing with their own mental health needs? Cuts in mental health funding mean that these young people are less likely to have access to mental health care–and also that they are more likely to need it.
When we fail to treat childhood trauma, we pay for it later on, in tragic mental illness and costly health problems that perpetuate the cycle of childhood trauma for the next generation. Continue reading