Schizophrenia: Time To Commit To Policy Change
I’m going to detour from my intended topic for this SharePost in light of a new development.
The policy paper: Schizophrenia: Time To Commit To A Policy Change has been published and deserves a line-by-line read. I link to it at the end of this news article.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in the United States and other organizations throughout the U.S. and in the world endorse the paper’s recommendations.
The paper gives statistics and facts about the treatment of schizophrenia with a conclusion at the end. It’s “better late than never” that a paper like this has come out.
It remains to be seen whether public mental healthcare agencies will rise to these challenges and utilize the evidence-based treatments endorsed in the paper. I will talk about one treatment: social skills training: in early November. Social skills training has been used to good effect.
The Time to Commit To A Policy Change paper quotes startling statistics:
Only 10 to 20 percent of individuals with schizophrenia have competitive employment.
Only 8 percent of individuals with schizophrenia in the UK are employed.
One finding states that 96 percent of the people with schizophrenia who start to receive social security disability benefits in the U.S. remain on these benefits permanently.
I’ve been the Health Guide here over 7 years. I’ve educated readers about the types and kinds of treatment, about options for gaining employment, and about evidence-based treatment and other recovery strategies that might work to help peers live life well in recovery.
You can browse my SharePosts in the archive in my profile on this web site. I will continue to be a leader in disseminating useful and helpful information because new ideas for news topics come to me all the time. I have articles to write planned through next February so stay tuned.
This is why I wanted to bring to your attention the current schizophrenia paper.
I also feel it could’ve been more graphic in underscoring how imperative it is for mental health agencies to fund and offer evidence-based treatments like CBT and social skills training and cognitive remediation.
The authors of the policy change paper and the “stakeholders” who have a vested interest in seeing people with schizophrenia recover (everyone) need to come together to bring our message to the streets, to meeting centers and town halls, to elected officials and agency administrators and regular psychiatrists and therapists and to members of the public.
Recovery is the number-one goal according to the authors and it is the number-one goal in my estimation too. The number-one deterrent to recovery is delayed treatment and ineffective treatment.
Immediate or early intervention with medication and evidence-based therapy, including psychosocial rehabilitation and family psychoeducation, must be readily available to everyone in the United States and in the World.
The ball is in the court of service providers, psychiatrists, therapists and primary care doctors to work together to provide integrated best practices treatment.
More than this, individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia must take their hopeful message of positive recovery outcomes everywhere they go and lead by example.
Recovery must be the goal of treatment. The root of recovery is informed decision-making between patients and their psychiatrists and therapists and the other members of their treatment team.
The number-one takeaway is that we must instill in psychiatrists that their patients can achieve functional recovery with good outcomes even if residual symptoms persist. One study quoted in the paper claimed the total absence of symptoms is rare.
I got the right help within 24 hours and I have absolutely no symptoms so I’m living proof that recovery is possible with the right treatment and support and medication.
I will end here by linking to Schizophrenia: Time To Commit To A Policy Change.
Your comments are welcome. I’d love to hear your impressions of this paper as well.
Christina Bruni wrote about schizophrenia for HealthCentral as a Patient Expert. She is a mental health activist and freelance journalist.