Mental health is a neglected topic generally in the United States. We stigmatize people with emotional diseases to a far greater extent than we do those with physical ailments without an emotional illness component. The stigmatizing is done throughout our society, including medical care. Illnesses that physicians have trouble diagnosing they often dismiss as mental illness, or they say you are making it up, you have some kind of emotional problem such as hysteria that is causing these symptoms etc. Before we can treat mental illness, we need to properly diagnose it. Confusing physical illnesses that have mental illness symptoms such as anxiety, depression etc. both exaggerates the problem and makes it harder to treat. People who genuinely have mental illness know that society looks down on them and are fearful of seeking treatment although great advances have been made in the proper treatment of mental illness including chemotherapy far better than when my mother was treated thirty years ago and vastly improved electro-convulsive therapies
Under diagnosed or over diagnosed mental illness not only is a serious problem for the patients but it is also a huge problem for the economy… Mental illness reduces productivity of the employees, participation in the economy, etc. It is an economic problem of tremendous proportions and an enlightened approach to managing these cases would be a significant benefit to economic development not only in the United States but in other advanced as well as developing nations.
Adolescent health, including mental health, is a neglected area as well. I found that social work agencies that love dealing with child abuse of infants shy from dealing with adolescents. Abused infants do grow up and if we have no proper social services for them all we have gained by preventing their abuse in infancy is lost before they have had full lives. That makes no sense. But in the United States we neglect adolescents except fitfully. We ignore the fact that they do not have fully mature minds yet we leave decisions about their post secondary education largely up to them without guidance especially in the less affluent neighborhoods of this country. Decisions about post secondary education are life altering decisions and getting it wrong can blight their lives Adolescent health problems suggest that mental illness is a big problem because such problems as suicide, drug abuse, alcoholism, accidents seem very common among this age group.