America’s mental health system is broken.
The estimated 8.3 million adults in the United States who suffer from severe mental illness go untreated, often falling through the cracks of a system that denies them care. Without treatment, their prospects worsen and they become more likely to commit violent crimes or end up homeless.
According to a 2012 study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 3.9 million adults with severe mental illness were not receiving treatment at any given time. A separate study by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) found that only 37% of adults with severe mental illness received any form of treatment in the previous year; for children, it was just 15%.
And when someone is in psychosis? Police are called and frequently cart that person off to jail—without providing any kind of treatment or even making sure they have access to medication.