To me, the only thing worse than seeing a loved one suffering from a severe disorder is seeing a loved one suffering from a severe disorder that you know is treatable. There are many reasons why those with obsessive-compulsive disorder might not seek treatment, including lack of motivation, fear of therapy, or even fear of getting well.
But perhaps the most heartbreaking reason has nothing to do with fear or motivation; it has to do with money. Those without adequate healthcare coverage who cannot afford treatment have few, if any, options. They may be willing to work toward recovery from OCD, but the necessary resources are out of their reach.
I am not the least bit savvy when it comes to politics, but I know right from wrong. David Shern, Ph.D., president and CEO of Mental Health America, is urging Congress to reject the proposed Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Resolution. He says, in part:
“Such deep cuts would imperil our public health system and further exacerbate the problems mental health systems are experiencing, given that states have cut mental health agency budgets by a combined total of nearly $4 billion over the last three fiscal years, the largest reduction in mental health spending since the 1960s.”
Dr. Shern talks of other ramifications of this resolution, and I find them all frightening. Millions of Americans, many of them children, would be at risk of not receiving adequate mental health care.
I can’t help thinking back to when our son Dan was battling severe OCD. We floundered and fought our way through a disorienting maze of treatments and programs, desperately trying to find the best help for our son. And when we finally found the right treatment and the right therapist for him, he got better. We were lucky to have health insurance that covered a good portion of his therapy, and were able to pay for the rest. I can’t even begin to imagine what it would have felt like if we had known there was a way for our son to recover, but no way for us to afford the appropriate treatment.
Yet this is the reality for many people. OCD sufferers who want treatment, and parents who want to help their children, are left hanging, with nowhere to turn. And the longer those with OCD go without therapy, the harder they are to treat. It’s heartbreaking, and it’s wrong. I think it’s finally time for me to get involved in politics.