"Ahead in the Count" 2020

In the United States, almost half of adults will experience a mental illness during their lifetime, making America the country with the highest rate of mental illness in the world. Despite ongoing research, the predictors of mental health disorders are still evasive. This is true for even for the most common, like depression. While a nation’s wealth factor would seem to have an impact, it’s clear from the data that the relationship is complex. Ron Kessler, Ph.D., the Harvard researcher who headed much of the WHO’s mental health research, says that by and large people in less-developed countries are less depressed.

 

In the U.S., only 41.1 percent of people with mental health disorders receive treatment. In other parts of the world, treatment is highly correlated with how developed the country is, and with how much of the country’s gross domestic product is spent on healthcare. Better treatment rates are generally seen in nations with universal healthcare, according to Kessler. In the U.S., he says, it’s not the lowest socioeconomic class that has trouble (they have Medicaid, which usually covers it), it’s the second-lowest socioeconomic group that can’t get care. While treatment rates have gone up in recent years (especially for pharmaceuticals), the rate of mental health disorders has not changed much.

 

The acceptance that mental illness is a disease like any other is one of the biggest challenges facing diagnosis and treatment. Just like heart disease it is often inherited and cannot be turned on and off at will. Another roadblock for treatment is insurance coverage (see “Intentional Walk”) which has prescribed guidelines regardless of the patient's individual needs.

 

“Ahead in the Count” is made from the yarn, string, and glue from the inside of found baseball. They are mounted inside a wig stand and are 14” tall. Shown above are three individual sculptures. Detail below.