Mental health accounts for roughly one-third of adult disability globally with an estimated 350 million individuals experiencing depression annually. Oftentimes it takes 10 years for individuals to obtain treatment after symptoms of depressed mood begin with more than two-thirds of individuals never receiving adequate care.
Florida Institute for Health Innovation believes in the importance of advancing inclusive solutions to improve mental health care. Mental health problems contribute to increased personal suffering and socioeconomic costs. It has become important to address disparities in access to mental health with a focus on improving mental health during COVID-19 in vulnerable populations while striving for the development of novel drugs and therapies to treat these mental health conditions. Policy advocacy that integrates available technologies for early diagnosis and prevention of mental illness is also fundamental.
Individuals from gender, sexual, and racial or ethnic minorities have been shown to suffer from poor mental health outcomes due to contributing factors such as cultural stigma surrounding mental health care, discrimination, inaccessibility to high quality mental health care services, overall lack awareness about mental health, and discrimination.
At FIHI, our research involves finding a model to address the disparities seen in access to mental care in these populations.
COVID-19’s unpredictability and prolonged periods of times of isolation during lock-downs or virtual work and educational settings has increased the risk of mental health problems and health inequalities. The economic downturn that has followed the pandemic has also contributed to the increased risk of health-disparities and access to mental health services. As a result of COVID-19 people have shown increased symptoms of depression and stress related to COVID-19. It is important to address the stressors impacting our individuals in Florida to prevent exacerbation of these mental health conditions in the near future.
Mental Health encompasses the sectors including health, judicial, education, workplace & unemployment across different communities. It is important to integrate these systems and create avenues to aid those with mental health concerns across different stages in people’s lives while maximizing mental health outcomes across situations.