Thomas Insel left his position as director of the National Institute of Mental Health to investigate all that was broken in the mental health care system—and what a better path to mental health might look like. In the United States, we have treatments that work, but our system fails at every stage to deliver care well. Even before COVID, mental illness was claiming a life every eleven minutes by suicide. Quality of care varies widely, and much of the field lacks accountability. We focus on drug therapies for symptom reduction rather than on plans for long-term recovery. Care is often unaffordable and unavailable, particularly for those who need it most and are homeless or incarcerated. Where was the justice for the millions of Americans suffering from mental illness? Who was helping their families?
Because Dr. Insel is such an understated writer, it is easy to miss the audacity to be found in Healing ... Dr. Insel has made the most of the revelation, traveling widely to identify the crisis of care and look for solutions. Healing is the product of this odyssey—and a compelling summary of all that he learned along the way.
Rarely does a book come along that has so much potential to influence American policy and quality of life as this one does ... In clear detail, using extensive research and narratives, many of them personal, he defines the social factors that have led to this crisis ... Readers of this important book will gain a greater, more complete understanding of mental health issues in the United States and will be pointed toward steps that could lead to radical change in mental health care.
A profound diagnosis of the ills and promises of the United States’ mental health-care system ... In breaking down how mental illness became so pervasive, Insel explains the history of health-care policy in America ... Insel offers a solid history of how systemic issues such as homelessness, mass incarceration, and for-profit health insurance keep the country tied to ineffective means of treating mental illness. But it’s not all doom and gloom: he offers a sense of hopeful solutions ... It’s as compassionate as it is comprehensive.