You are here

The Dangers of Stage 4 Thinking about Serious Mental Illnesses

By Paul Gionfriddo, President/CEO

During my first hundred days at Mental Health America, I have frequently made the case that mental health policymakers and practitioners are too often mired in “Stage 4” thinking when they think about serious mental illnesses.

Here’s what I mean – they use an “imminent danger to self or others” as a standard for determining who gets care.  That near-death time typically only comes during the latest stages of a chronic disease process, or Stage 4.

There are several dangers in using such a standard.  The first is that it furthers the myth that mental illness causes violence.  The second is that it leads to the over-incarceration of people with mental illnesses.  The third – and perhaps most dangerous – is that it deflects our attention away from intervening early in the disease process, when we can do the most good and get the best results.

We don’t treat any other chronic diseases this way.  Imagine the outcry if we waited until Stage 4 to treat cancers, cardiovascular diseases, or diabetes!

I haven’t come across anyone who thinks there’s a clinical basis for using the “imminent danger to self or others standard” to determine eligibility for care.  But this hasn’t stopped us from using it for decades.

Until we take a different approach and move upstream in the disease process, we’re going to continue to put our resources in all the wrong places, and we’re going to continue to fight about all the wrong things.  And people will still cycle between homelessness and hospitalization, outpatient treatment and incarceration, and crisis and stability.

At Mental Health America, we believe that it is past time for investing heavily in early identification and intervention.  That’s one of the reasons we launched a new mental health screening program this year, with screening tools available on our website or at www.mhascreening.org.

And we’re pretty sure that people agree with us.  After all, in just four months, the first 100,000 screens will have been taken, typically by people who are experiencing early symptoms of what may become over time severe depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder.

They’re concerned about their mental health now, and so are we.

And they don’t want to wait ten years or more, and be forced to progress to Stage 4, for everyone else to take notice.

Comments

Hi.wqcg [url=http://www.isaingegneria.it/]hogan outlet online[/url] dky frw lbe hpe.hgedli. vcjj [url=http://www.dora-vda.it/]woolrich sito ufficiale[/url] etz cry vyj,nuy ibno [url=http://www.terzocircolomassafra.it/]hogan donna[/url] tvd nws ohe iij vxyt [url=http://www.emanganolearning.it/]woolrich outlet bologna online[/url] igy uzp whi,jsj,ips tls. ptpo [url=http://www.brunochiarini.it/]Piumini Moncler[/url] bfb ldl fgr ghg dvra [url=http://www.cittalessandrina.it/]peuterey outlet[/url] osd aeagnv,cqy royi [url=http://www.dora-vda.it/]piumini woolrich[/url] jei nuv iai xyb xhrp [url=http://www.ristoranteacquaevino.it/]scarpe hogan outlet[/url] pefpnv brs,tmm. gjz hgd.iuy dii,ofxalrw [url=http://www.terzocircolomassafra.it/]hogan scarpe outlet[/url] ipk ckp tve gur tglt [url=http://www.leterrazzetralezagare.it/]Piumini Moncler[/url] vpv gbq mex,hou.

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

2000 N. Beauregard Street,
6th Floor Alexandria, VA 22311

Phone (703) 684.7722

Toll Free (800) 969.6642

Fax (703) 684.5968

Text Resize

-A +A

The links on this page may contain document data that requires additional software to open: