Mental health is a critical component of overall health and well-being. Yet many people face barriers to accessing affordable, quality mental healthcare. Access to mental healthcare is vital for all people to realize their full potential and participate fully in all aspects of life. It merits special protection as a fundamental human right.
Several international covenants recognize mental health as a human right, including:
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Article 25 states, “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family, including […] medical care and necessary social services.”
- International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Article 12 asserts “the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.”
- Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Article 25 obliges States to “Provide persons with disabilities with the same range, quality, and standard of free or affordable health care and programmes as provided to other persons.”
The Importance of Mental Health
According to the World Health Organization, there is no health without mental health. Mental health influences how we think, feel, and interact with others. It affects our ability to cope with stress, work productively, and make meaningful contributions to our communities.
Mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia are real and prevalent health conditions. Globally, over 300 million people suffer from depression. Nearly one billion people are living with a mental disorder. When left untreated, mental illness can profoundly limit people’s ability to function and participate in society. At its most severe, mental illness can even lead to suicide. Close to 800,000 people die due to suicide every year.
Barriers to Mental Healthcare Access
Despite the clear importance of mental health to overall well-being, many barriers prevent people from getting the care they need:
- Cost: Out-of-pocket costs for therapy, psychiatry visits, and medications create financial burdens for patients.
- Insurance Coverage: Many insurance plans offer limited mental health benefits compared to physical health.
- Supply Shortages: There are shortages of mental health professionals like psychiatrists, therapists, psychiatric nurses, and social workers in the U.S. and globally.
- Stigma: The stigma surrounding mental illness deters people from seeking help for fear of judgment.
These barriers disproportionately impact marginalized groups who already face more significant structural disadvantages.
Count on RADIAS Health
Affordable, quality mental healthcare enables people to manage conditions that would otherwise severely limit social and economic participation. With mental illness impacting individuals worldwide, making mental healthcare universally accessible is imperative. Guaranteeing this necessity as a human right elevates its political and social importance.
RADIAS Health provides person-centered integrated healthcare services to people experiencing mental illness, substance use, or co-occurring disorders. Compassionate, skilled health care and support staff deliver our behavioral health services. In addition, our care includes supplementary services such as case management, supportive housing, homeless services, residential services, outpatient DBT treatment, and more.