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The real cost of caring for the mentally ill

Updated on February 9, 2012

Cost of care for the mentally ill


The cost of caring for the mentally ill varies by the society

There are people who are considered mentally ill in every society on earth. In different area’s worldwide their treatment is handled in different ways. In each case the society they live in choose how they will be treated. In each case also there is a cost to their society. It has been this way since the first recorded history.

Can this percentage be used for our society?

Years of my life were spent years working with the developmentally disabled (DD), among them (from memory) about 10 % were dual diagnosis. This 10 % were considered both developmentally disabled and mentally ill(MI). The small groups worked with were from 50 people facilities to ones that warehoused 1170 or more. One wonders if these numbers can be turned at least percentage wise to the general population. In most cases the higher functioning are now living "normal" lives. This includes those with both diagnosis's

The people who love those considered mentally ill make a difference

Part of my time now is spent working with children diagnosed with ADHD. As much as possible the parents try to keep these children off medication. At this time not a single child is receiving disability and it is hoped they will never need it. Everything is tried, diet, exercise, routine, counseling, and anything else we come across. At the moment the children running 50% being treated without medication. Without medication, the other 50 % can't function "normally". Those on medication are mostly for sleep issues.

The current cost to society for these who are considered mentally ill

We don't know many adults who can survive on two hours of sleep in a 24 hour period, must less any child. With more sleep they do better in every area. At their current age they are considered mentally ill. The current cost to society is their disruptive behavior causes other children learning time in their classes while their teacher is dealing with disruptive behaviors. All of the parents have been told their children will “grow out of it”. A sad truth is those who are medicated as a child often end up medicated for life. Believe me if there is a cure the mothers would love to hear about it.

What we learn from history

Many of the geniuses throughout history would be diagnosed with mental illness if they were alive today. Their way of functioning showed several groups of behaviors we now consider "mental illnesses". Most went days without sleep. This is considered Manic/depressive behavior. They became so focused on what they were doing all else fell away. This would be considered compulsive/obsessive behavior. Many went days without eating this would be considered anorexic behavior. These things hold true for many people who have very high IQ's even today. Does this mean everyone who has a high IQ and exhibit these kinds of behaviors are Mentally Ill?

Mental illness is some cases is cause and effect

It is my belief also that certain types of abuse to children lead to mental illnesses later in life. This belief comes from years of working with people who suffered this type of abuse. There is no way for a child to cope with certain things which happen to them both physically and mentally. The outcome of these types of abuse cause those who suffered them major problems throughout what should be their highest earning years. These problems include suicide, suicide attempts, bulimia, and anorexia. People who suffer any of these are considered to have mental illnesses. Most of those who survive at some point in their lives are considered cured

The real cost of mental illness

Most of the people considered mentally ill can either be “maintained medically“ or "cured". This costs the people in any society time and money, some people say shouldn't be spent. Numbers are available but no one here has access to them. It is common knowledge that in many cases the federal, and state governments pick up bills in excess of $100,000 dollars per client. Today it costs less to keep someone in prison than "cure" someone diagnosed with a "mental illness". This is based on the fact that warehousing is cheaper than curing each individual. Warehousing is something every state did with the Developmentally disabled before the American society cried out for a change. In many cases it was found more cost effective to label a person disabled and support them instead of "curing" them.


Knowledge gained about my Indian heritage shows that mental illness existed even before the white man arrived in America. There was a cost to every tribal society. That cost was tears. For those who suffered no cure was available so some were talked into taking their own lives. Others were thrown out of tribes to survive, or not, alone. Along with the aged and physically afflicted others were left behind to die. Is today's society ready to return to this way of thinking? Is it better instead to continue to pay the real cost for caring for the mentally ill in our society?

What will your choice be

Should any first world society return to the past with treatment for the mentally ill?

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