When it comes to mental health treatment, the UK and the US are worlds apart.

As with other kinds of healthcare, the mental health sector is fragmented in both countries. Both see fundamental differences in the stigma attached to mental health treatment.

In this post, we’re going to look at how these differences have resounding effects on patients. Neither country has it figured out yet, but there are positives to be taken away from the way both operate.

Mental Health Treatment in the UK vs. the US

In terms of overall healthcare, the US and the UK are at either extreme. The UK has the largest publicly funded healthcare system, while the US has the largest privately funded healthcare system.

Through taxation and public funding, all UK citizens have access to healthcare for free. Contrarily, through profit and not-for-profit methods, most Americans have access to healthcare. But, 16% of the population have to pay out-of-pocket for healthcare.

So, how is this difference reflected in mental health treatment? Let’s find out.

The NHS and Mental Health Treatment

Since the NHS provides free healthcare to all British citizens that require it, mental health treatment is also free. The stigma towards mental health in the UK has made incredible progress over the last few years. This type of treatment is funded in the same way surgery, hospital stays, and GP visits are.

Being publicly funded leaves the National Health Service susceptible to budget and funding cuts when governments change over. The grumbling over long lines and understaffed hospitals has led to political parties taking different sides on NHS funding.

UK citizens that can afford it often opt out of using the NHS and pay for private healthcare.

These people aren’t required to give up their NHS privileges, but it allows them to avoid the long wait times that NHS patients experience. The rest are left waiting in those long lines for mediocre treatment due to the lack of funding.

Mental Health Treatment in the US

Because America has privately funded healthcare, mental health treatment is quite expensive. Many Americans won’t even attempt to seek it out without coverage.

This has resulted in a well-publicized issue. Facilities are shutting down and with a lack of treatment for the poorest citizens, too many of America’s mentally ill are ending up on the street or in prison.

America is always battling with the stigma of mental illness and drug addiction. What many don’t care to admit is that the two are closely related. There’s a cause-and-effect relationship between drug abuse and mental health that is overlooked by the US healthcare system.

The way in which America deals with at-risk addicts, however, is much more progressive. While mental health-specific facilities have been closing over the last 50 years, more addiction treatment facilities have opened up. A quick search online will show you a facility near you, like this website, which operates out of Seattle.

Unlike normal American healthcare facilities, drug and alcohol treatment centers are well-staffed and equipped to deal with their patients’ needs. Although they’re still costly, they provide a much-needed service that helps those in dire situations.

There Are Problems Everywhere

No system is perfect. While many Americans are afforded the opportunity to healthcare, the poorest citizens are hung out to dry. In the UK, free healthcare is available to all, but the NHS is at the mercy of government budget cuts. This leads to a lack of resources for patients and workers alike.

Utopia will almost certainly never exist. We can take good and bad from both the UK and the US methods of mental health treatment, but the truth of the matter is that we need to do better.

Doing better will only come with compassion and understanding from the citizens of both of these world leaders.

To read more about the promotion of healthcare through socialist principles, visit our blog, where you’ll find informative articles about the importance of good healthcare for all citizens.

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