In this article, Doctor Masha M. Linehan of the University of Washington, creator of a treatment used worldwide for severely suicidal people, reveals her past with mental illness and shares her experience of having been locked in the mental institute for seven years. After a number of suicidal attempts, she has finally came to accept herself as she was. She realized that “she tried to kill herself so many times because the gulf between the person she wanted to be and the person she was left her desperate, hopeless, deeply homesick for a life she would never know.” This ‘radial acceptance’ was the key for her to have the courage to change herself and as a result, she became a renowned doctor helping the people she once used to be.
Unfortunately though, not many people undergo the same experience as Doctor M. Linehan. She successfully overcame her illness but still there are many people with severe mental illness live what appear to be normal, successful lives, because such people are not in the habit of announcing themselves. In addition to the common stigma people have against people who pursue mental health services, the treatment itself is very costly. For a very long time, insurance companies have omitted coverage for mental health services. And most plans pay 50% of the cost of services at best. For improvement of mental health services, David Mechanic explains the following in a 2012 article in the journal Health Affairs: “It promotes new programs and tools, such as health homes, interdisciplinary care teams, the broadening of the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services option, co-location of physical health and behavioral services, and collaborative care.”