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The Decline of Mental Health Services

Mental Health Awareness Ribbon

Mental Health Awareness Ribbon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are at least three causes.  People who direct mental health clinics and recruit personnel are often not mental health professionals.   They often feel their authority is threatened by the mental health professionals they employ.  One problem is that well qualified mental health personnel are professionals  and are often personally held responsible by their professional associations and state or federal laws for making certain decisions that the administrator may not want made.  It is easy to supervise less qualified people who aren’t held  accountable to such high standards and who aren’t also held accountable to professional boards or state licensing bureaus.

Besides being easier to supervise, people especially with Associates Degrees, Bachelor’s Degrees, and Masters degrees, are much cheaper to employ.  Even if a clinic hires M.D.’s and Ph.D.s,  they not be willing to pay them for  years of experience or added certifications.  Such as there is in law, there are specialized branches of service in mental health, notably for children and adolescents. Most clinic administrators must always watch the bottom line.

Last, but probably not least, insurance companies monitor the provision of services for which they are expected to pay.  They can not only say what, if any, kinds of services they will pay for, but also how much and for how long.  Mental health professionals in private practice can not ignore insurance companies and their required paperwork.  Such  people probably can not succeed in business without being certified as approved providers by these companies and depend on their reimbursement.

Who’s running the show here.  How qualified are business managers, accountants, and medical administrators, not psychologists or psychiatrists or qualified social workers, to determine what mental health services a seriously ill child, adolescent, or adult needs?  Sure under this system mental health services are provided but what kind? Do you want a surgeon or a nurse’s aide to operate on you? Do you want the care you get, medical or otherwise, to be chosen only by what it will cost?

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