May Is Mental Health Awareness Month
Jersey City, NJ – The lingering effects of the economic downturn continue to affect children and adults by leading to the development of mental illnesses or addictions – and, in many cases, co-occurring disorders – or exacerbating existing conditions. As a result, community providers have been facing a greatly increased demand for the treatment and support services they provide. These services enable individuals to not only manage their illnesses, but also thrive in education, employment and other important areas of their lives. All of these benefits contribute greatly not only to the individuals’ well being, but also to the economy and society overall. As budget cuts are being made, the value of mental healthcare and addiction treatment services must be considered.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 4.6 million adults nationwide have co-occurring disorders. However, only 6 percent receive treatment for both illnesses. Nearly half, 47.5 percent do not receive any treatment, while 41.4 percent are treated only for the mental illnesses and 5 percent receive treatment only for substance use disorders.
Without access to mental healthcare, addictions treatment and support services (e.g., supportive housing, supported employment), individuals are less likely to secure and retain jobs and more likely to visit emergency rooms, require hospitalization, or become homeless or incarcerated. The state pays significantly more for these avoidable consequences, compared to community-based services. For example, the state spends an average of only $600 in contract dollars for one year of community outpatient services for an adult. By contrast, one year of treatment in a state psychiatric hospital can cost $178,000.
Another striking example is the cost of incarceration compared to community based addiction treatment. Incarceration costs $49,000 per year, whereas an investment of less than $25,000 would provide effective treatment and avoid incarceration. Furthermore, treatment is much more effective than incarceration. According to National Drug Court data, 70 percent of addicted offenders who receive treatment remain clean and sober for years, while 70 percent of those who are not treated are likely to return to jail or prison.
“At any time, and especially in this economy, the opportunity for such dramatic savings should not be disregarded. Similarly, the needs of individuals with mental illnesses and addictions should never be ignored,” said Mark Prowe, Director, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Health, Christ Hospital in Jersey City. “The earlier an individual recognizes the need for and gets treatment for a mental illness or substance the greater the likelihood of a quicker and fuller recovery:” “With mental health awareness events coming up in May, this is an ideal time to highlight the services available in our community, the profound impact they have on the individuals we serve and the need for adequate funding to ensure we can continue with our vital mission.” “Regardless of the economy, mental health and addiction treatment services must always be available. We urge our state leaders to do the right thing and maintain funding for these invaluable services,” said Mr. Prowe
Nonprofit mental health providers, who receive a large portion of their resources from the state, are struggling to serve everyone in need. Their waiting lists are growing, forcing many adults, as well as children, to wait long periods of time-ranging from three weeks to five months-to receive vital services, such as outpatient treatment and medication monitoring. Meanwhile, their health deteriorates, which ultimately leads to crisis and the need for more intensive and substantially more expensive care in hospitals. By making a sufficient investment now, the state can avoid these traumatic health consequences and astronomical financial costs later.
Christ Hospital provides a full continuum of Care for individuals requiring Behavioral Health Services including; Emergency Crisis, Voluntary Inpatient and Outpatient services.
If you would like more information please go to http://www.christhospital.org or call (201) 795-8375.
About Christ Hospital
Serving Jersey City and the surrounding communities for nearly 140 years, Christ Hospital is committed to being Hudson County’s premier community hospital by continually adding state-of-the-art equipment and new programs to provide its patients with the highest level of quality and compassionate care. Christ Hospital is the only facility in Hudson County to offer IMRT therapy for the treatment of cancer and has recently opened a new maternity unit incorporating five-star care and amenities with state-of-the-art technology. In addition to medical/surgical care, specialty areas include: neurological and spinal surgery; critical care; pediatrics; oncology; obstetrics; psychiatry; cardiology; physical, occupational and speech therapy; counseling and resource center; radiation oncology; emergency medicine; same-day-surgery; nutrition counseling; and a sleep disorders lab. For more information, please call (201) 795-8000 or visit www.christhospital.org.