Question: What’s the name of the new miracle “pill” that can help people get through bouts of mental illness? Answer: Fixitol!
That’s the name of a fictional “miracle drug” dreamed up by the American Psychological Association in a campaign launched this week to promote psychotherapy.
The centerpiece is a series of animated videos that are a parody of TV drug ads. The videos are available on the APA website as well as on YouTube.
“Did you know that more and more Americans are stressed, anxious and depressed?” an announcer asks. “But now there’s a cure! Ask your doctor about Fixitol, the pill you take once that takes care of all these concerns.”
That’s followed by another voice-over that talks about the benefits of psychotherapy, although it’s not really “a miracle cure.”
“We get a lot of information about drug therapy from commercials and pop culture, but we hear much less about the alternatives,” said APA Executive Director of Professional Practice Katherine Nordal. She noted that medication can be an appropriate part of treatment for mental disorders, but “people should know that psychotherapy works.”
The campaign, called: Psychotherapy: More Than a Quick Fix, is detailed on the APA website Psychotherapy Works.
Other efforts have been underway to highlight the benefits of psychotherapy as well. Earlier this year, the National Association of Professional Psychology Providers (NAPPP) reached an agreement with Public Television to broadcast videos promoting talk therapy over drug therapy.
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Almost 80% of the counties in Texas don’t have sufficient numbers of mental health professionals to treat the population under the state’s NorthSTAR program, The Texas Tribune reported.
The state’s Medicaid program dedicated $101 million to the program in 2012, but less than 1% of Texas’ eligible population received care from one of the mental health centers in 2011. This is despite the fact that one in four adults experiences a mental illness in a given year, the newspaper points out.
This isn’t a new issue though — it’s been on-going. Last December, the paper said 488,000 adults living with persistent mental illness — and 154,000 children — had to scramble to find care due to a shortage of providers.
There has been a particular shortage of psychiatrists, which reflects a nationwide problem.
The issue has been called “a workforce crisis” by some observers, who say that the state ranks far below the national avearge of the number of mental health professionals per 100,000 people.
- John Nelander, Contributing Editor