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Mental health disorders, even though suffered by many, remains stigmatized and receives less attention than other health care issues (Swanton, 2016). Many patients are not willing to disclose their mental health diagnosis because of the fear of being looked down on or judged. There are also limited mental health resources as well as some communities are not able to gain some of these benefits due to insurance issues or the inability to pay (Choi et al, n.d.).

Two of the issues, that this writer believes need change are that of the granting of FMLA leave to patients with diagnosed psychiatric disorders and making treating options available to everyone. This writer has worked with several clients who were having difficulties being granted FMLA or being denied. The FMLA is the Family and Medical Leave Act. It works on behalf of those with medical and mental health disorders who are unable to perform their job duties due to the disability from the diagnoses (Wray et al., 2015). Clients with physical ailments may find it less difficult to be granted this paid leave as their disorder is visible by the employer and those granting the leave. When it comes on to mental health disorders, client tend to run into several road blocks as their disorder is not readily visible.

Many clients explain that their request was denied or met several obstacles as their diagnoses was not considered chronic or disabling. Many of the clients argue that anxiety and depression make it difficult for them to carry out their jobs that require them to come in contact with people. The increased stress from interacting with others and trying to fit in to the workplace can be debilitating but is rarely considered so by employers. This is an area that needs attention and change. This writer believes that Nurse Practitioners and other health care providers can be an advocate for the client by providing thorough information on the client’s illness that support the need for a leave. The Nurse Practitioner should be readily available to answer questions and educate the employers on mental health disorders. In addition, the Nurse Practitioner could advocate for change on a federal or state level by writing congress or their elected leaders.

Another issue that this writer believes need special attention is that of making special procedures available to everyone. When treating mental health disorders there are many treatments that would be beneficial for a client, but the client will end up not receiving the treatment due their inability to pay or insurance coverage (Wang & Xie, 2019). This writer has worked with several client suffering with depression who have exhausted the use of antidepressants but were not qualified for ECT due to monetary reasons. The client is simply placed back on the antidepressants with limited hope to treat their disorder. This issue is also another social change issue that we as Nurse Practitioners could propose to our elected leaders. The mental health community on a whole is stigmatized and separated and this only separates them more by causing a separation amongst themselves.

References

Choi, N. G., DiNitto, D. M., & Marti, C. N. (n.d.). Relationship Between the Types of Insurance

Coverage and Outpatient Mental Health Treatment Use Among Older Adults. JOURNAL

OF APPLIED GERONTOLOGY, 35(12), 1343–1362.

Swanton, M. (2016). Mental Distress. InsideCounsel, 16(181), 26–28. Retrieved from

ebscohost. com.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bth&AN=

23498644&site=eds-live&scope=site

Wang, N., & Xie, X. (2019). Associations of health insurance coverage, mental health problems,

and drug use with mental health service use in US adults: An analysis of 2013 National

Survey on Drug Use and Health. Aging & Mental Health, 23(4), 439–446.

Wray, T. B., Dvorak, R. D., & Martin, S. L. (2015). Demographic and economic predictors of

mental health problems and contact with treatment resources among adults in a low-

income primary care setting. Psychology, Health & Medicine, 18(2), 213–222.

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