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Evidence Base in Design
Mental health is a huge issue that is often overlooked and swept under the rug. It is a condition that is intentionally unseen, unheard, underresearched, undertreated and overstigmatized (Congress.gov, 2022). Legislation proposed a policy S.Res.518 in February of 2022, requesting that the United States contribute substantial financial support to mental health and substance use disorders, this policy also requests that mental health is treated as priority and with the same importance as physical health (Congress. Gov, 2022). This policy expresses great sympathy, sensitivity and understanding for the mental health community.
Mental Health is much more prevalent than many people think. One out of five Americans experience a mental health issue, one out of six young people experiences a major depressive episode, and one out of twenty Americans live with a serious mental health issue such as Schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression (MentalHealth.gov, 2022). Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the Unites States, more specifically the second leading cause of death for young adults ages 10-24 (MentalHealth.gov). Suicide accounted for more than 45,979 deaths in 2020, which was close to double the statistics for deaths related to homicide (MentalHealth.gov). Mental health has had a severe impact on the American people.
Based on these figures, there is enough evidence base to support the proposed health care policy, and there is more than enough data to show that support from a higher power is lacking. According to Congress.gov (2022) 55% of counties in the U.S. do not have a single psychiatrist, psychologist or social worker, and only 10% of individuals in the U.S. struggling with substance use disorders receive specialty treatment. The resolution of the policy discusses the need for integration of mental health and substance abuse disorders into healthcare treatment, regarding both conditions as part of the health care process and not as a separate entity (Congress.gov, 2022). The policy aims to improve the problem of underdiagnosis, to increase the amount of health care providers who specialize in mental health, and to clarify the misunderstanding of the correlation between mental health and violence/negativity (Congress.gov, 2022). Cultural/societal barriers and injustices of the minority communities all support the need for this policy as well.
Overall, policies reflect public opinion as well as evidence-based data (Milstead & Short, 2019). When it comes to policy design specifically related to healthcare, there is a significant amount of research required and it takes a multidisciplinary approach, examining different factors, processes and systems related to the issue (Milstead & Short, 2019). In the policy S. Res. 518, it is evident that there was a great amount of research completed to support the purpose, all evidence utilized is essential and demonstrates that there is a major need for healthcare reformation in regards to mental health.
Congress.gov. (n.d.) Retrieved September 20, 2018 from https://www.congress.gov/
Mentalhealth.gov. (2022). Mental Health Myths and Facts. https://www.mentalhealth.gov/
Milstead, J. A. & Short, N. M. (2019). Health Policy and Politics. A Nurse’s Guide (6th ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.
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After research, I chose a bill proposed to help treat long COVID. Post-COVID conditions are a wide range of new, returning, or ongoing health problems that people experience after first being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 (CDC, 2022). Most people with COVID-19 get better within a few days to a few weeks after infection, so at least four weeks after infection is the start of when post-COVID conditions could first be identified (CDC, 2022). Anyone who was infected can experience post-COVID conditions (CDC, 2022). Most people with post-COVID conditions experienced symptoms days after their SARS CoV-2 infection when they knew they had COVID-19, but some people with post-COVID conditions did not notice when they first had an infection (CDC, 2022). The Secretary of Health and Human Services (in this section referred to as the “Secretary”) shall award grants on a competitive basis to eligible entities for the purpose of creating or enhancing capacity to treat patients with Long COVID (also referred to as post-acute sequelae of COVID–19 and post-COVID conditions) through a multidisciplinary approach (Duckworth, 2022). The Secretary of Health and Human Services (in this section referred to as the “Secretary”) shall award grants on a competitive basis to eligible entities for the purpose of creating or enhancing capacity to treat patients with Long COVID (also referred to as post-acute sequelae of COVID–19 and post-COVID conditions) through a multidisciplinary approach (Duckworth, 2022). As I’ve posted before, my grandmother suffered from COVID and was in the hospital for several weeks. Today, she still suffers from the effects of COVID with shortness of breath and atrial fibrillation to name a few. As many as there are like her, I believe a bill as such would succeed in helping those who suffer from long COVID. Although they’re not “positive” anymore, COVID still affects their daily lives. It is estimated that anywhere from 10% to 30% of patients might experience long COVID after recovering—even if they weren’t very sick in the first place (Berg, 2022). Another reason why I think this bill would succeed is that there is also no test for long COVID symptoms. Therefore patients could be suffering from the symptoms of long COVID and not be aware of what is causing the issues. There is no test to diagnose post-COVID conditions, and people may have a wide variety of symptoms that could come from other health problems (CDC, 2022). This can make it difficult for healthcare providers to recognize post-COVID conditions (CDC, 2022). Your healthcare provider considers a diagnosis of post-COVID conditions based on your health history, including if you had a diagnosis of COVID-19 either by a positive test or by symptoms or exposure, as well as doing a health examination (CDC, 2022). So not only is getting treatment for these conditions difficult, but it is also difficult to diagnose.
Berg, S. (2022, March 11). What doctors wish patients knew about long covid. American Medical Association. Retrieved July 1, 2022, from https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/public-health/what-doctors-wish-patients-knew-about-long-covid
CDC. (2022, June 17). Long Covid or post-covid conditions. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved July 1, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/long-term-effects/index.html
Duckworth, T. (2022, April 6). S.4015 – treat long covid act 117th Congress (2021-2022). Congress.gov S.4015 – TREAT Long COVID Act. Retrieved July 1, 2022, from https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/senate-bill/4015
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