An initiative centered on the idea of a kinder, more empathetic world aimed to change policy that discriminates and works against individuals living with mental health conditions.
Our current Policy Change initiative is a two-prong approach broken down into phases.
- Phase 1: Ending the discrimination of students living with mental illness within our higher education system.
- Phase 2: Require a standard quality of care within psych wards that sets patients discharged up for success rather than failure.
Phase 1: Discrimination Within Our Higher Education System.
Students suffering from physical illness are granted an excused absence with a doctor note, however, students living with mental illness are not typically granted an excused absence when severe symptoms occur. For example, someone with a fever will often be allowed to take a makeup exam and be granted an extension on assignments. On the other hand, a student facing a panic attack, depressive episode, or manic episode would be told “Sorry, no makeups allowed.” Because our higher education system does not treat mental illness in the same regard as physical illness, many students living with mental health conditions are unable to successfully complete their degrees.
Thus, at Inspiring My Generation, we have created a letter template for you to download and send to your state’s education department. By working together to share our apprehension to the current system, we can amplify our voices and make ourselves heard.
Phase 2: Lack of Standard Quality Care Among Psych Wards
The current mental health system is broken. Patients hospitalized in a psych ward are 100-200x more likely to die by suicide upon release. In 2021, we still live in a world where quality mental health is a privilege not a right.
- Patients are not thoroughly evaluated upon admission. (Ex: patients should be evaluated by a psychologist, psychiatrist, and social worker)
- Patients are typically required to take a standard medication without a thorough evaluation. (Ex: one specific antidepressant will not be beneficial for every single patient.)
- Patients are not assigned an effective treatment plan during admission.
Individual therapy sessions are not typically offered, specifically not regularly during admission.
- Group therapy sessions do not provide enough variety in a range of coping mechanisms nor are they separated by mental health disorder. (Ex: someone with suicidal ideation, someone with an eating disorder, and someone with schizophrenia may need different coping tools)
- Not enough resources are available. Governments need to reallocate funding to allow for quality treatment.
- High treatment costs.
- After discharge, patients are thrown out into the world with no one checking in on them. (Ex: case managers should follow up periodically to make sure patient is doing well)