According to research, one in five Americans will experience a mental illness at some point in their lives. The odds are that someone you know suffers from a mental illness--and yet the stigma that surrounds it is so firmly entrenched that many people struggle alone and will not self identify themselves as having one. It is a very serious problem.
Mental illness is not a choice, but rather a biologically based ailment for most and influenced by environmental factors. It is complex and does not manifest in the same way for everyone. One person's Depression is not another another's, etc. The best treatment for mental illness--or any physical ailment--is prevention, and yet next to no money is spent on preventing it.
Instead, we wait till people are in crisis and exhausting costly services before we recognize the problem and try to interven. Frankly, such a strategy is short-sighted. Research is very clear that prevention and public health measures are signnificantly less expensive than intervention. It would require a long-term strategy, however, to address society's mental ills, and that does not appear likely.
The most disturbing thing, though, is that NH is among one of th worst states in treating mental illness. The community mental health system is still broken, but people do not talk about it. Frankly, changes need too take place. Until they do, we will continue to see emergency room visit and people waiting days for beds at an overtaxed NH Hospital.