Rawls’s Theory of Social Justice

Mental Health

In the US there are more than 48 million people suffering from a mental health condition that is almost twenty percent of the total population. The number of people committing suicide is also relatively high with suicide being tenth in the number of causes of death in the US. When one assesses the ages between 15-24 suicide is ranked second in the number of deaths in the country. It is a problem that needs serious attention assessing the factors that lead to these negative statistics in a country where technological advancements have developed better diagnostic and treatment methods accordingly.

It is imperative to note that although the condition is diagnosed later in one’s life, it starts when the individual is fairly young with most of these mental health issues starting to manifest when an individual is 15 to 24 years of age. An individual may live for decades with the conditions with the appropriate methods of management or treatment not being administered due to lack of proper diagnostic tools to assess the individuals at this age.

It is a massive problem in the American society and with most of the mental health institutions being closed; there are now more mentally ill patients in prisons than on mental facilities. It is important therefore, to assess the methods that can be used to arrest the situation and ensure that proper treatment and management methods are adopted in the society accordingly.

Thesis Statement:

The society needs to address the problem through giving equal treatment and management practices to all patients suffering from mental health illnesses Rawls’ theory of social justice looks to ensure that there is a guaranteed justice for all people in through equal rights in a moral society. The theory draws on two fundamental principles the first being the right for each person to have the most basic liberty that is compatible to the liberties of others (Rawls, 2009).

This means that every individual has an equal right to the same rights and freedoms that are applicable to others in the society. Secondly Rawls asserts that the economic positions are to be to everyone’s advantage and open to all. Although there are questions on how these principles can be applied to all, it is clear that the main concept that they are hinged on is equality towards developing a just society.

Rawls extrapolates that in a society where all people start from a similar originating point and draw from the same level of knowledge, they can be deemed to have justice if they all with the same means and rights compete among themselves (Rawls, 2009). Rawls deems the society as a single unit where there is the same level of knowledge and background making it possible to conceptualize a situation where each member of the society can gain from the models and attributes that are developed by others.

Rawls theory accentuates a theory of justice where everyone is justified and the best positions are set for a society that is significantly developed and looking to gain the best from connecting and relating with each other. Everyone must be satisfied in their position and economic and positions should not be differentiated.

Mental health illness is most prevalent among the homeless people who account who have more than 40% of the cases undiagnosed and untreated (Hiday and Moloney, 2014). Mental illness is most prevalent in areas where people do not have proper access to proper medical facilities and access in the society accordingly. Economic problems are a major factor in the level of prevalence of mental health illness since most of the cases are left untreated in the society.

Rawls second proposition is on ensuring that there is no injustice based on economic differences. Rawls posits that every individual should have equal access to the same resources and economic advantages in the society to ensure that they get the best from their tools and approaches created (Rawls, 2009). It is essential in the society to ensure that the best models are adopted and developed towards creating an economically equal society. Rawls theory posits that economic positions need to be to everyone’s advantage in the society.

It represents a model where there are differences in the approaches and models created towards the models adopted. Social and economic positions should also be open to all towards ensuring equality. Mental illness is not treated due to differences in the level of economic ability and the Affordable Care Act that was implemented by the Obama government was one of the main aspects that aimed to change this level of economic differences (Schwab, 2013).

It is essentially essential towards creating a scope that is defined and modeled through accentuating and developing insurance and health care programs that meet the needs of the people in the society accordingly. Everyone should abide to the moral obligations and enhancing the models that are important to the societal needs accordingly.

The first principle under Rawls theory is that each person should have the most extensive basic liberty that is compatible with the rights of others in the society. Under this premise Rawls posits that all people in the society have an equal right towards getting the best tools and models needed accordingly. There is more than three times the number of mentally ill patients who are incarcerated in prisons in comparison to the number of mentally ill patients in mental institutions (Hiday and Moloney, 2014). This statistic reflects on the level of inequality on the American society and the main important concepts that were essential for change in the society accordingly.

It is important as Rawls notes to give an equal opportunity and treatment for all people in the society through giving them the basic liberties that are applicable to all. If the society was to follow the concepts and tenets as highlighted by Rawls, mental health would be effectively treated since there would be programs that are effective in giving a chance to all members of the society to gain the best towards change accordingly (Sen, 2011). The numbers of Whites who have access to mental health treatment are high in comparison to the minority groups with a difference of more than double the number of minority groups (Hiday and Moloney, 2014).

It is a trend that is reflective of the models and traits that are characteristically differentiated in the American society. Rawls highlights the importance of having a morally sound society where people look to integrate the individual attributes and changes that are identified in the society accordingly. Rawls posits that there are differences in the tools and working scope when everyone looks to give their best for the advancement of others in the society (Sen, 2011). Rawls position reflects on a position that can be used towards developing the best morally acceptable models in the society.

According to Rawls theory, the American position on mental health illnesses and methods for treatment and management of these conditions presents a social injustice. In a country where more than 40% of the homeless people are living with the condition and three times the number of people with mental conditions is incarcerated in comparison to those hospitalized, it represents a social injustice (Bartlem et al, 2016).

Everyone needs to have an equal level of liberties that ensure that there is equality of means and the best treatment methods are adopted in the society accordingly. As a society, people have a moral obligation towards ensuring that all people can access quality healthcare and mental health facilities through the country.

The statistical information offers a negative reading in an advanced society that prides itself in giving proper care and tools towards changing and developing the best means for individuals in the society accordingly. It is increasingly essential to work out a plan where medical practitioners and the people look to integrate the best processes and models towards changing the scope and problems accordingly.


Mental health illnesses are a massive problem to the society and the best tools towards giving equal access to treatment need to be developed. It is essential as a country to implement Rawls theory and incorporate the best tools that are aimed at changing the societal models and goals accordingly.