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The recent tragedy of Newtown shootings has rightly spurred a fresh round of discussion about the gun control legislation, as well as the state of the mental health care in the United States. The shocking incident has become another push in the direction of taking some action in order to improve the current state of affairs or at least bring these issues to the forefront of public’s attention. The present video involves many expert opinions on the matter of mental health care and serves as a helpful source of information. Based on this short coverage of the issue together with general background knowledge, it is possible to say that the present system for the mental illnesses treatment has severe shortcomings, such as stigmatizing mentally ill people, lack of access to the services, and a bigger legislative insufficiency.

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The current US health care system does not provide enough opportunities for mentally ill people to receive adequate help. As it was discussed in the video, since the deinstitutionalization in the 1960s of mental illnesses in favor of inclusion into community, a lot of facilities offering professional help were closed (Gharib, 2012). The result nowadays is that people seeking help have difficulties accessing it. Moreover, the access itself does not guarantee the high quality of care. Unfortunately, there are shortages of qualified specialists who can assist in such situations.

Even bigger problem related to mental health is the existing stigma that prevents a large number of people from seeking help. It was made crystal clear by several guest speakers in the video that psychiatric illnesses are viewed as secondary to other illnesses like cancer or heart attack, for instance (Gharib, 2012). People are usually embarrassed to admit having such problems and try to hide them. Yet others think that there are no really mental illnesses, and it is only a matter of “putting oneself together”. This reckless societal attitude towards a serious problem results in grave consequences. Because there are no viable preventive measures, the situation usually can escalate and turn into uncontrolled events.

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The problems of access to health care centers and stigmatization cannot be addressed properly if the legislative part of the problem is left in shadows. There are too few coherent regulations concerning mental health care, which constitutes a serious aspect of the problem. The most sensible solution is to aim at preventative therapies, but there are not enough institutions with appropriate conditions for such programs. Moreover, there is no national program that would address mental health care questions. All these contribute to the perpetuation of the vicious circle.

Thinking of the possible solutions, it is important to stress that long-term ideas should be the focus of attention. As one of the guests mentioned in the video, we need to promote a culture of mental health (Gharib, 2012). In other words, mental well-being should be viewed as an integral part of human health and treated equally comparing to other diseases. Together with that, it is important to educate the members of the community to be accepting and not treating mental illness as something scary. On the official side, a national program for mental health care will be of high value. It should be flexible and focus on both preventive care that can be implemented at home and hospitalization in case of need. Most importantly, the education about this aspect of human health should be conducted more profoundly, going beyond mere textbook data on illnesses but focusing more on the way to react in case of such illness.

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Deep societal processes underlie the lack of proper mental health care system. The problem of stigma coupled with lack of professional health centers encourages people to keep their problems to themselves. The change of the current state should come from a combined effort of legislative workers, community members, and every individual. This would provide a systematic approach to the existing problem with mental health care.

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