It’s a bit unfair to compare something life threatening to something not immediately life threatening.
Also, psychiatric care is really just a nice way of saying, “mind-altering drugs”.
Not life threatening? You’ve clearly never experienced or known someone with a severe mental illness. Up to 90% of people who commit suicide have a mental illness.
Eating disorders, mood disorders, anxiety and self harm have many life threatening effects on the body, e.g. malnutrition, gastrointestinal complications, increased risk of cardiovascular disease, risk of wounds becoming infected, nerve damage. People struggling to get the mental health care they need find themselves in ER’s, jail cells and psychiatric hospitals for their immediate safety.
The risk of this can be minimised with proper treatment, which can consist of medication but also includes psychotherapy, occupational and social work, emergency care and other treatments as appropriate for each patient.
Kidney patients can be kept alive on dialysis for years while awaiting a transplant.
Also, your “mind-altering drugs”? These are part of why I can go to school, have an internship, maintain friendships, and be a reasonably responsible family member. Meds are a complement to therapy and make it work better. Honestly, if I were not taking prescribed medication, I would probably be taking some “mind-altering drugs” that had worse side effects than dry mouth.
Mental illness is in part both caused and reflected by physical/chemical disturbances in the brain. In physical illness, medication is often used to aleviate symptoms or address causes. Psychotropic drugs do the same thing. They are a medical response to a medical problem.