Self Help Now: A community blog

Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers advice for maintaining your mental health.

Government Programs and Mental Health

Written by Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade, Community blogger | Oct 22, 2013 8:40 PM

Everyone's critical of government programs lately, including me. The new health insurance program is so poorly organized. The people who need it most don't have a computer, don't know how to access the ACA account, don't understand the law and will remain uninsured unless someone walks them through the process. They aren't all that patient, either. Plus, a web search of insurance programs comes up with meatier and cheaper programs than can be found on the government site. It's a mess, so far, but the kinks may get ironed out, yet. Give it ten years.

There's been a " 60 Minutes" piece on the scam in Disability claims, in which some private lawyers and doctors help unqualified people achieve disabled status. However, I work all day very often seeing many truly desparate people with no resources or ideas. These people often worked even after illness hit, got laid off, or fired, or quit in a fit of anguish or ill health. Their conditions often worsened within the last year of two.

Let me give a few examples. First, we have middle-aged lady who goes in and out of personality states, dissociatively, unconsiously, dangerously, usually depressed, often infantile and sometimes wanton. She could work in an office again but I sure hate to think of how badly the work would be handled and how suicidal or homocidal she'd be at the end of the day or week. It would be just a matter of time. Then, there's the young mentally retarded man with a broken back, four kids,no money, and a violent temper outside the home, where he feels unsafe, having been beaten by cops and severly abused throughout his childhood. He needs help before he can function in the outside world. What can we do to make sure he gets it? Multiple bipolar disorders (really severe and true diagnoses here), nonresponsive to medications and therapies, people barely walking into the office with their walkers and canes, real brain injury and dementia, and a former professional person quite suicidal and about as vacant and empty as a styrofoam box. That's just one day. Here's one time I'm glad for a government program, however messy they can be.

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