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Beyond the Walls 

Social Justice Issues Involving Mental Health 

Insurance Issues

  • Coverage non-existent or inadequate

  • Many practitioners don't take it

  • cost of good care is prohibitively expensive


Lack of wide availability of mental

health services

  • Hard to find a practitioner accepting new patients

  • Get short-term interns when sliding scale fees are


  • Alternative therapies too costly and not widely available for many


Cultural / Linguistic / Geographic Issues

  • Finding therapists who are friendly to LGBT and BIPOC is difficult

  • If a person doesn't speak English, it is hard to find support

  • If you live in an area with low population, there may not be availability of mental health support.     

Involvement in the Criminal Justice System

  • Jails and prisons full of people with mental health problems.  They have become the de-facto mental health facilities in many counties.

  • Engagement with police can lead to incarceration or tragic death

  • Sadly, often the most troubled people get the worst care

Areas needing Work

There is so much work to do.  To get involved, pick something that engages your, or your group's interest and make a difference there.


  • Economic Justice

  • Abuse Prevention

  • Support and Treatment

  • Mental Health System Involvement and Reform

  • Publicity

  • Direct Service

  • Organized Activism 

Book Resources

  • Haines, Staci. The Politics of Trauma: Somatics, Healing, and Social Justice, North Atlantic Books, 2019.

  • Hayes, Larry. Mental Illness and Your Town – 37 Ways for Communities to Help and Heal, Loving Healing Press, 2009.

  • Shim, Ruth and Vinson, Sarah, editors.  Social (In)Justice and Mental Health, American Psychiatric Association, 2021.

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