The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

The future of mental health treatment

January 25, 2023

Mental health is necessary for the health and happiness of all communities. However, it needs reformation and tangible solutions to make the treatment experience more accessible and positive. Fortunately, these solutions are in the works.

In an interview with Dr. Steven Sust, a psychiatrist at Stanford Medicine Children’s Health, he mentioned that, like with any medical illness, it is best to treat the condition as early as possible. This would give psychiatrists and other doctors more time to spend on patients without risking worsening their condition.

“We are getting better and better and identifying and treating mental illness as they occur, especially if we figure it out earlier,” Sust said.

Sust also mentions that there aren’t enough psychiatrists and mental health crisis responders that meet the number of patients seeking help. This results in the waitlist causing many patients’ conditions to worsen. With more qualified medical professionals, hospitals would be able to keep up with the demand for treatment.

“Truth of the matter is that there’s just not enough people like myself, people like my colleagues, out there, especially in crisis moments. That’s why it is so important for our patients to come to us early to compensate for the shortage,” Sust said.

Along with the changes to the mental health system itself, Sust, along with his team, including Castaño formed a non-profit Stanford initiative project called Allcove. It is a mental health center for the youth based on the integrated health system in other countries like France and Ireland. These centers provide specialist counseling, peer support, and education and financial guidance. Along with all these benefits, it is free of charge, and services are open to anyone between the ages of 12-25.

“It’s not up to one person to decide what to do; it’s very much all of us as a community to decide how much we would like to continue, and encourage others and not let them give into stigma and such,” Sust said.

Although the mental health system has flaws, it is actively being improved. Along with the model of mental health, treatment is being reshaped into something much more accessible for anyone seeking mental treatment. The future of mental health looks bright on the horizon.

“Everyone here in the community, your teachers, parents, pediatricians, and therapists, want to help you guys. Though we aren’t exactly perfect, my hope is that we can all work together to help you reach whatever rockstar or superhero dreams you have,” Sust said.

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