They Deserve Better: A Look into the Lives of the Most Vulnerable Texans
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The mentally incapacitated are the most vulnerable population. Due to their vulnerability, they are unable to advocate for themselves, so others must advocate on behalf of them and their well-being. This thesis, rooted in experience serving as a Court Visitor on behalf of the Travis County Probate Court, argues that mental health parity would provide equitable funding for facilities to afford proper care and staff, would lessen accidental deaths, and would encourage screening for mental illness in children to offer preventative care. This position is supported by detailed observations and research into the effects of the lack of mental health parity. This thesis discusses the blatant differential in care across the gradient of facility funding from purely Medicare and Medicaid funded facilities, to purely high-end private pay facilities observed through visits conducted on behalf of the Travis County Probate Court. These disparities were identified by the author when she visited mentally incapacitated wards and spoke with guardians of mentally incapacitated people. This thesis also discusses data related to the number of individuals who are affected by mental illness in this country, the number of forensic commits, and prevalence of mental illness in criminals, and makes the case that the state would actually save money if preventative mental health care was a priority.