Why Does It Matter?
Not having access to needed support and services impacts all facets of a person's life.
Access to mental healthcare, regardless of healthcare coverage, is critical for treating people that have mental health condition or addiction. In addition, childhood trauma and other experiences that may harm a child's health may lead to mental health needs as adults. On top of that, not having access to mental health services may contribute to homelessness, unemployment, and other health-related issues. The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that adults living with a serious mental health condition, on average, die 25 years earlier often due to treatable medical illnesses.
Often people who struggle with mental health disorders are viewed as being personally weak or broken. This perception may lead people to be fearful of talking about their disorder(s), or even accessing services. According to a 2007 CDC study, roughly one-third of people in both Iowa and Nebraska do not believe that people are caring and sympathetic to other people who have a mental health condition.
In 2014, a local study by the Behavioral Health Support Foundation found nine service gaps in the metro area. Based on these findings, providers from across the community are coming together to create strategies to address service gaps including fragmented service delivery, lack of treatment providers, access to care, and support systems for those experiencing mental health challenges.