Faith vs Fear

Faith vs Fear

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Class Assignment

I've been working on preparing an outline for my analysis of argument class. The topic is increasing education and awareness of mental illness. I decided to post my outline here, and would love feedback:

Resolved: The United States government should allocate more of its social services funding to educate the general population, law enforcement, clergy and family members about mental illness.

A. A significant number of Americans suffer from various types and degrees of mental illness.
1. Approximately 26 percent of the United States population ages 18 and older suffer from a diagnosable mental illness.
2. Sixteen percent of the homeless population are mentally ill.
3. 280,000 people with mental illness are in jail or prison, four times more than in state mental hospitals.
4. Approximately 90 percent of marriages involving someone with a mental illness will end in divorce.

B. Society is negatively impacted because of misconceptions about the causes and treatment associated with mental illness.
1. A recent example of what can happen when police officers are not sufficiently trained is the tasering death of Brian Cardall on June 9, 2009 during a psychotic episode.
2. Most insurance carriers don’t cover mental health issues at the same rate as regular healthcare.
a. As a result of inadequate coverage, many are unable to afford healthcare for their themselves or their loved ones who need help.
1. In 2010 a new law will go into effect giving mental health coverage the same amount as other illnesses. It’s a step in the right direction.
3. Mental illness affects family members emotionally and financially.
a. Many are unable to sustain relationships and end up divorcing.
b. Some have impulse control problems and become deeply in debt.
4. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that mental illness costs the nation at least $193 billion annually.
a. Approximately $193 billion in lost earnings.
b. In 2004 22% of total hospital costs were attributed to adults with a mental health disorder.

C. Resources available to those in need of mental health care are inadequate.
1. Mental health care workers have increasingly heavy workloads.
2. Patients often have to wait weeks or months to see a doctor for help.
3. Social stigma and misunderstanding about mental illness causes many to feel marginalized.
4. Families often don’t know where to turn for help and information.
5. Most of the time the issue of mental illness is only covered when someone acts out and ends up in the news.
A. Most people are afraid of mental illness or don’t know what to do to help.

D. Information should be more accessible through a nonprofit agency, through more accurate media representations and additional research to aid understanding about mental illness and those affected by it.
1. Give national mental health agencies more exposure in the media and increase their presence on the Internet.
a. Create a nonprofit clearing house of information about mental health issues that is easy to find and access.
i. National Institute of Mental Health website
ii. The BBC has a page devoted to mental health issues:
2. Encourage the media to accurately portray people suffering from mental illness.
a. Example: the Broadway play “Next to Normal”

Update: I just got my grade back for the outline: a 92! I'm feeling good about this.

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