A 5-Step Plan To Solve The Mental Healthcare Shortage — So People Get The Help They Need

A call to action with a focus on prevention can help ease the mental health crisis in the United States.

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As a passionate healthcare professional, I have witnessed the profound impact of insufficient mental health treatment and care resources on individuals and society.

This issue potentially affects all of us, so I wrote this article in order to shed some light on the harsh realities faced by those battling mental health issues, explore the ripple effects saturating our communities, and offer a plan that shows the way forward.


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A five-step plan to meet our nation's urgent need for more mental health care and emotional support

1. Identify the areas of insufficient care 

This is the root cause of the current mental health crisis. One of the biggest challenges we face is the unavailability of resources and support for individuals struggling with mental health issues, especially during times of crisis. It's disheartening to see how emergency rooms, often considered beacons of hope, fall short of providing comprehensive diagnoses and necessary support for those seeking help.


Insufficient access to quality mental health care resources creates a challenging cycle, hindering individuals' ability to overcome their struggles and placing additional strain on our already overwhelmed healthcare system.

2. Equip our first responders

One area of concern lies in the insufficient mental health training and resources available to our dedicated first responders. When faced with mental health emergencies, they may lack the necessary expertise or resources to handle the situation effectively or provide prompt transportation to suitable mental health care facilities.

This gap in the system can lead to missed opportunities for early intervention and support, leaving individuals susceptible to self-medication through substance use as a coping mechanism.

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3. End the cycle of substance abuse

When adequate mental health care is not available, substance abuse becomes a treacherous refuge for those deprived of proper support. Struggling without guidance and treatment, individuals may resort to self-medication to numb their unwanted emotions and navigate the difficulties of daily life.

However, this reliance on substances perpetuates a destructive cycle, leading to further deterioration of mental health and causing significant detriment to individuals, the healthcare system, and society. The weight of this burden is immense, impacting every aspect of life and underscoring the urgent need for comprehensive mental health care.

4. Implement empathetic policies for unhoused people

The absence of mental health care resources profoundly impacts the rising rates of homelessness. Individuals battling untreated mental health conditions face immense difficulties navigating life without a stable support system.

This heartbreaking situation creates a dangerous and vulnerable environment for those experiencing homelessness, further underscoring the urgent need for compassion and comprehensive mental health care. By addressing this neglected crisis, we can work towards providing a brighter future for individuals affected by homelessness and fostering a safer community for all.


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5. Acknowledge and seek solutions for mental health-related crime

Furthermore, untreated mental health conditions fuel a disturbingly high occurrence of crimes committed by individuals deprived of vital support and treatment. The desperation and isolation experienced by those grappling with mental health issues often drive them towards harmful behaviors.

We must address mental health at its core, taking swift and continuous action to break this destructive cycle. By doing so, we can forge a safer and more inclusive society for every individual.

A call to action — focus on prevention

The profound and far-reaching realities faced by individuals battling mental health issues due to inadequate or nonexistent care resources cannot be overlooked. Society must recognize the urgency of this issue.


Rather than simply managing the consequences, we must redirect significant resources from substance use, homelessness, and crime toward mental health. By placing mental health at the forefront, we can prevent these issues from arising in the first place.

As members of society, we are responsible for advocating for a transformative shift in how mental health is prioritized and addressed. Let us unite, challenge prevailing norms, and work towards a future where individuals no longer endure their struggles in isolation. Investing in comprehensive mental health care, early intervention programs, community support networks, and open discussions about mental health can cultivate a society fostering resilience, empathy, and overall well-being.

Together, we can create a path toward a brighter future where mental health receives the recognition it rightfully deserves. This will lead to healthier individuals and contribute to the creation of a safer, happier society.


Editor's note: There are several options in case you or someone you know needs help to deal with an immediate crisis. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). 

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Clare Waismann is a counselor and addiction specialist who has been featured in many news outlets, including Vogue, Elle, USA Today, Fox News, and more. She is the founder of two world-renowned opioid treatment centers: the Waismann Method Rapid Detox Center and Domus Retreat.