The Impact of Mental Illness on Society

The devastating effect of mental health disorder can be seen in all levels of society. Issues of mental instability are caused by psychological impairment or psychiatric disorders. Anyone who is predisposed to mental impairments can experience chronic mental health disease or episodic bouts of the disorder. Stress or other environmental triggers can throw a healthy individual into a mental health crisis or cause a recovering person to relapse.

The effects of mental disease impact the sufferer the most, as the struggle to accomplish simple tasks becomes undeniably overwhelming. As these individuals spiral out of control, the family steps in as caregivers, which places the burden onto the family. The family structure undergoes tremendous change in order to meet the need of the loved one who is ill. The struggle to cope and provide help for their loved one often creates mal-adaptive behaviors among family members. This type of strain results in family instability, and family members becomes susceptible to the very mental problems they are trying to solve.

A mentally impaired parent does not have the ability to take on the full responsibility of parenting. The result of irresponsible parenting impacts the next generation as the trauma of neglect and abuse manifests in psychological problems.

Drugs and alcohol becomes a prevalent self medicating treatment among mentally ill individuals. Crime and violence among this group which leads to incarceration is borne at the expense of other useful programs. Patients who are deemed disabled are institutionalization at great expense to the community.

People who struggle with mental illness are more likely to lose time from work for extended periods. The loss to the work force impacts the employer as well as the economy negatively. Additionally poor decisions create poor performance, and the work force spends time fixing and mediating conflicts.

The financial cost to society can be seen for the minority of mentally ill patients who seek treatment. The cost of medication therapy and other health related illnesses cannot be met by the individual seeking treatment. Cost can be minimized by earlier diagnosis and preventative care.

The entire community suffers as a result of mental illness because of the constant stress and burden of absorbing the care of the mentally challenged. Financial resources are burdened by disability payments and subsidized housing. Years of production lost to mental illness and suicide places the responsibilities on the communities who struggle to meet their own needs. 

National institute of mental health