What is Depression:
– “Depression is classified as a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest” (Mayo Clinic).
Statistics of People in the United States who Suffer from Mental Illnesses/Conditions:
– Every year in the United States about 43.8 million people will have some type of mental illness or condition.
Statistics of People in the United States who Receive Treatment for these Conditions/Illnesses:
– Of those 43.8 million people only about 40% of those people receive treatment for their mental illnesses.
Statistics of People in Louisiana who Suffer from Depression and other Mental Illnesses:
– About 3.6% of people in Louisiana have some type of mental condition/illness
Statistics of People who Receive Treatment for these Mental Illnesses/Conditions:
– Of the 3.6%, only about 40% of those people receive treatment for their mental illnesses/conditions
Resources Available to People who have these Mental Illnesses/Conditions in Louisiana:
– There is an organization called NAMI, which stands for the National Alliance on Mental Illness. This organization offers a variety of programs. There are classes that people can take to become more educated on mental illnesses. In addition to that, there are support groups for individuals and for families of individuals who suffer from mental illnesses, where they can learn how to cope with their problems.
– There are some psychiatric hospitals that are able to treat more severe mental illness cases.
– There are non-profit organizations that can help treat and offer resources to people who suffer from mental illnesses at a low cost.
The Lack of Resources for People who Suffer from Mental Illnesses/Conditions in Louisiana:
– Psychiatric hospitals: While this seems like a great form of treatment, there are lots of flaws within these hospital systems when it comes to treating the mentally ill. In Louisiana, mental health is not a top funding category when it comes to healthcare funding. When budget cuts are made in the healthcare world, mental healthcare is usually a category that always gets hit with budget cuts. In addition to the underfunding, a lot of these psychiatric hospitals are understaffed and they lack resources. Many times there are not enough beds for patients, therefore they are not able to admit patients that need care.
How Katrina Impacted Mental Illness in Louisiana:
– Katrina was the most devastating hurricane in Louisiana. This tragic event took place in August of 2005. Around 2,000 people lost their lives, but about 15 million people were affected by this hurricane. People lost their lives, homes, cars, pets, money, and so much more. This event brought the world of mental healthcare in Louisiana into shambles. Many people who stayed in town for these events were faced with PTSD. Others were in a time of depression given that a lot of people lost everything. This was a time where the levels of anxiety were high. On the other hand, the mentally ill patients who were receiving treatment before the storm were not getting adequate treatment. Psychiatrists who were working in Louisiana before the storm were no longer there. There were not enough beds for the mentally ill because hospitals were understaffed. Hospitals and emergency rooms did not want to admit people that were mentally ill because they were worried about going into debt. Police officers were replacing the mental health professionals and they were constantly picking up people who suffered from mental disorders off of the street. Given all of these problems, people would think that the government would step in to help Louisiana try to rebuild their mental healthcare, however, the opposite was done. After the storm, government spending was dedicated to reconstructing the city, and essentially people suffering from mental illnesses were placed at the bottom of the list of priorities.
How I Hope to Catalyze Change:
– A lot of people are not aware of these issues. While it may seem like Katrina happened a while back, it has influenced the world of healthcare in Louisiana today. People in Louisiana are still facing problems when it comes to receiving benefits from their healthcare providers. This problem is especially apparent when it comes to impoverished people and people of lower incomes. A lot of the time, people with these low socioeconomic statuses do not have access to healthcare insurance. That being said, a lot of those people are not able to pay for treatment for their mental conditions because they do not have the means to pay for it. Obviously, there is not support and resources for people who suffer from mental illnesses. There is not enough room in psychiatric hospitals, and lots of people end up having to receive help from smaller non-profit organizations. Most of these non-profit organizations run strictly off of donations. To help make a difference in my community I want to spread awareness about the lack of mental healthcare resources in the state of Louisiana. In addition to that, I want to raise money for a non-profit organization in Louisiana, so they are able to use these funds to help more people in need.
The Help I Need from Y’all:
– In order to spread awareness and raise money, I am going to need your help. I have started a go-fund-me to raise money for a non-profit organization, and the link is attached at the bottom of this page. Please share this with your friends and family, so that more and more people will have access to mental healthcare.