Continuum of Care Paper

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Continuum of Care Paper
Maryann Bocak
June 21, 2010
Dr. Denise W. Hines

Continuum of Care The component of the U. S. health care delivery system continuum discussed in this paper will be mental health care. Mental health is how we think, feel, and act as we cope with life. It helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others and make choices. Like physical health, mental health is important to every stage of life, from childhood through adulthood. Mental illnesses are common and they affect about one in five families in the United States. These disorders, depression, phobias, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and many others, are real diseases that you cannot will or wish away. They are treatable through medicines and therapy and the lives of people with mental disorders can improve. Mental disorders are common in the United States and internationally. An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans over the age 18 and older, about one in four adults, suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. When applied to the 2004 U. S. Census, this figure translates to 57.7 million people. Even though mental disorders are widespread, about 6 percent or 1 in 17 suffer from a serious mental illness. Mental disorders are the leading cause of disability in the Unites States and Canada for ages 15 – 44. Many people suffer from more than one mental disorder at a given time. Prior to 1963, when President John F. Kennedy signed the community Mental Health Centers Act, persons with any mental health problems were institutionalized in public mental institutions. But the signing of the act brought about change by allocating funds for the construction of community mental health treatment centers and began the release of thousands of psychiatric patients from state hospitals. The number of patients in public mental hospitals reached a peak of 558,922 in 1955. Between 1970 and 1986, the number of in-patient beds in state and county hospitals declined to



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