At a national level the second largest amount of spending, 27 percent, goes towards health care including Medicare. The smallest investment is in energy and environmental science. Each is only 1 percent of the budget (Tucker, J). Yet environmental issues are often the cause of serious health problems according to the US Office of Disease Prevention and Health. It seems that the most efficient way to optimize spending is to focus on the root cause of problems rather than on the expensive alternative of treating symptoms. Major Health Concerns Caused by Environmental Conditions. A 2016 World Health Organization report attributes nearly 25 percent of disease to environmental causes. In addition, one third of children under 5 experience disease caused by environmental factors. Preventing disease by investing in a healthier environment can save millions of lives.
According to Healthy People, poor outdoor air quality, fresh water quality, toxic waste materials and indoor environments are linked to disease and premature death. Steps that can lead to a healthier environment and a better health outlook can reduce the number of cases of respiratory and cardiovascular illness. Reducing air pollution caused by toxic emissions, cleaning up contaminated water sources and minimizing exposure to toxic materials while reducing indoor pollution are good measures to take.
Part of addressing environmental issues at the state level requires involvement of families and communities’ in maintaining healthy conditions. In order to reduce exposure to toxic chemicals some states have created restrictions on chemicals and classes of chemicals and worked to assess risks.
Cleanup can be expensive so prevention makes economic sense. According to the CDC, state responsibility includes the right to protect public health and safety, as well as the right to reduce or eliminate harmful chemical exposures.
Strategies that work at state and local levels are:
Timelines and Cleanup Standards. Quick cleanup will reduce exposure to toxic waste. Community Involvement. Local residents especially those most at risk of pollution related illness, should participate in the cleanup process.
Prioritize of Cleanup by Severity Level. Sites posing the largest risk to public should have the earliest cleanup deadlines.
Should states act to prevent other potentially damaging lifestyle habits? In 2013 suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the United States according to the Center for Disease Control. This is likely to be the reason why many states view suicide as a public health imperative. States are increasingly focusing funding for suicide prevention. There is an emphasis on educational training and counseling for mental health disorders including depression. But are these measure actually successful in reducing the costs of long term health care?
Psychology Today cites treatments that are known to work though they are not yet being practiced with great frequency in the United States. Cognitive behavioral therapy trains suicidal individuals to effectively control their thinking through specific training and tools including mobile device based coping apps.

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When people having suicidal thoughts can take charge of the situation in an easy and effective way, associated death, disability and expensive long term treatments can be avoided. Major problems like the suicide death rate need not be solved by major spending. Solutions that have been proven to work are already at hand.

Should state level regulation distinctions be made between mental health issues and physical health concerns? State regulations should not distinguish between physical and mental health concerns. Indeed, many mental health concerns have physical origins. “People with any chronic physical disease tend to feel more psychological distress than do healthy people. Poor physical health brings an increased risk of depression, as do the social and relationship problems that are very common among chronically ill patients” (Collingwood, J).

    References
  • Collingwood, Jane. The Relationship Between Mental and Physical Health. Web..
  • Firestone, Lisa. Web. Suicide Prevention the Treatment that Works. < https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/compassion-matters/201309/suicide-prevention-the-treatment-works>.
  • Shibley, G., Farquar,J. Using Law and Policy to Address Chemical Exposures. Web. < http://www.cdc.gov/phlp/docs/chemical-pp.pdf>.
  • Tucker, Jasmine, President’s 2016 Budget in Pictures. Web. .
  • Center for Disease Control. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Web. ..
  • Office of Disease Prevention and Health. Environmental Health. Web. .
  • What effects can the Environment have on Health?Web. .