Silhouette of depressed and anxiety person head. 
Negative emotion image. Person head shaped paper on black torn paper background.

Hastings Center Report

The Pandemic of Invisible Victims in American Mental Health

Abstract: Although considerable attention has been devoted to the concepts of “visible” and “invisible” victims in general medical practice, especially in relation to resource allocation, far less consideration has been devoted to these concepts in behavioral health. Distinctive features of mental health care in the United States help explain this gap. This essay explores three specific ways in which the American mental health care system protects potentially “visible” individuals at the expense of “invisible victims” and otherwise fails to meet the needs of great numbers of people with serious psychiatric conditions: prioritization of the wrong patients, incentivization of excessive caution among providers, and a narrow definition of psychiatry’s purview. While each of these practices has been discussed elsewhere in the literature, they are rarely considered as part of an interrelated and systemic problem. Reconceptualizing these three issues as aspects of the larger conflict between the interests of “visible” and “invisible” victims may prove a path toward reform.

Read the Article