Mental Health Care (In A Perfect World)
I often catch myself sitting back and thinking what the world could look like if mental health stigma was a thing of the past and mental health care was a right and not a privilege. I don’t know if I will live long enough to see any of these dreams materialize, but it doesn’t hurt to have an idea of what a mental health utopia may look like.
Access to Services – Before It’s Too Late
We all too often hear after a tragedy that someone could have benefitted from mental health care. It is the case in domestic abuse, school violence, workplace violence, postpartum depression violence and countless other situations. But before someone’s mental health gets to the point of being newsworthy, there are likely countless warning signs that signalled distress. In a perfect world, someone would be able to receive prompt, qualified and free mental health care, before the tragedy and not after.
Mental Health and Physical Health on the Same Page
I’ve mentioned before that most people wouldn’t bat an eye about calling in sick with the flu, but calling in sick with depression is almost unheard of. Employees may feel that they would be perceived as weak, as faking it, or as simply looking for a day off. In a perfect world, employees would be able to tell their bosses openly that they struggle from mental health challenges and be able to take time off for personal care, just as they are permitted with physical maladies. Of course, doctor’s notes and documentation should still be required but I would love to see a world where people don’t have to feel ashamed for having depression.
Walk-In Mental Health Clinics
At least here in Canada, it is extremely difficult to get a psychiatrist. It is often not until something drastic happens, such as a suicide attempt or violence against others, that someone is granted a psychiatrist. It would be a wonderful world if we had more psychiatrists that were able to see people on a walk-in basis. In my city, we have tens upon tens of walk-in clinics for physical illness but not one for psychiatric. The only option is to go to the hospital emergency room. The problem with this is that if people wait until it is an ‘emergency,’ sometimes it is far too late.
Access to Therapy (Not Only Psychotropic Medications)
For most mental illnesses, it is my belief that medication alone won’t get to the root of the problem. Proven methods such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy are often only accessible by those who can afford the $100 plus per hour sessions. If we really want to see a decline in mental health challenges, we need to make therapy accessible, free to everyone and on top of medications. Many mental health challenges such as depression or anxiety could be greatly improved with just 6 – 12 sessions of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, over a lifetime of medication.
Of course, it’s going to cost a lot of money to make these dreams a reality. But when you look at the billions upon billions of dollars lost each year due to missed days at work, it seems we will have to spend money to save the bottom line in the future.
Curry, C. (2013, March 11). Mental Health Care (In A Perfect World), HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, October 3 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/survivingmentalhealthstigma/2013/03/mental-health-care-in-a-perfect-world
Author: Chris Curry
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