USCF Mental Healthcare (MHC)
The human brain is a true wonder. It is the most complex object that we recognize in the known universe. Every one of us is born with about 100 billion neurons and 2,500 synaptic connections per neuron. From birth to two years of age the brain doubles in size by developing 2 million new synaptic connections per second. This results in each neuron connecting to about 15,000 other neurons producing 1,000 trillion total synaptic connections before age three. As children grow through adolescence to adulthood the synaptic connections that are reinforced through life’s experiences remain while underutilized connections fade away. Unfortunately, the repetition of less-than-desirable experiences in life can cause the brain to develop in a way that promotes anxiety, depression, phobias, and other forms of mental illness.
Typically, 20% of adults and 17% of children experienced some form of mental illness each year in the U.S. These numbers increased 5% during the 2020 pandemic. That is 1 out of 4 adults and more than 1 out of 5 children expressed mental health concerns. About 1 in 20 adults experience serious mental illness. Unfortunately, less than 44% of adults and 51% of children receive any help for their mental health needs.
Each year more than 25 million Americans suffer from depression. 90% of the people that seek treatment for depression are treated successfully using therapy and/or medication. Lack of care results in about 7% of the adult population resorting to alcohol or drugs to cope with mental issues. 60% of suicides are related to depression and this number increases to 75% when alcoholics or drugs are involved. Suicide rates for children have increased every year since 2005 and are the second-highest cause of death only behind accidents. Each year there are 1.4 million suicide attempts resulting in nearly 50,000 deaths making suicide the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. Depression and mental health are manageable. Suicides are preventable if we would take our mental health as seriously as our other healthcare needs.
Taking care of our mental health is just as important as any other aspect of healthcare; however, it is neglected by many because of unfounded stigma and fear. USCF works to reverse this mindset and help citizens understand the importance of taking care of their mental health. Mental health includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being which affects how we feel, think and act. Our mental health determines how we handle stress, make choices, and relate to other people. Promoting good mental health is the most important aspect of human development. It is particularly important for our children as it affects the proper development of their brain which will impact them throughout their life. This is one of the main reasons for integrating Essential Healthcare into our school systems.
The identification of a child’s needs is covered by the school districts within which they live. It is a very important part of Essential Healthcare (EHC) for schools to assess and determine the mental healthcare and special needs of children. Typically, children with behavioral issues will require Mental Healthcare, and children with special needs will require both Chronic Healthcare (CHC) and MHC. Teachers and administrators are usually the first to recognize behavioral and mental health changes in the children they serve. Having the compassion to ensure every one of our children has the opportunity to develop the best brain possible not only benefits them but society and humanity overall.
Adult members typically seek assessment and have their evaluation covered under Essential Healthcare. Citizens can also be recommended for MHC evaluation from any of their other USCF healthcare programs. Once identified citizens are required to begin contributing to their MHC coverage. Funds are deposited into the citizen’s Healthcare Saving Account and used when needed to pay for their healthcare needs.