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Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Early Release

This article describes a scary situation that I think has the potential to happen almost anywhere.

Wherever bureaucracy wraps its cold fingers into health care, and every country in the world has this to some extent, there exists the possibility of numbers taking precedence over people.

They comment in the article that there are people who end up quickly back into the mental health system because they stopped taking medication, not because they are discharged too early. Why can't it be both? Speaking from experience, leaving the hospital even when you're ready to, you leave quite fragile. If you are released before you really are ready, you will not have the skills, support or understanding to ensure medication is maintained. This will then mean you slide right back to dangerous behaviour (either to yourself or others).

We've all mentioned this on our own blogs in some form or another. But I will repeat it.

I am tired of the stigma that is attached to mental illness. And I weep for those who fall between the cracks because the bureaucracy controlling health care can't get beyond the age-old perception that mental illness is really a character flaw rather than a physiological condition no different than diabetes or MS.

But I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for that to happen.


Blogger Dangerous Mind said...
I'm not sure whether I agree with "bureaucracy controlling health care can't get beyond the age-old perception that mental illness is really a character flaw rather than a physiological condition no different than diabetes or MS".

I agree that perception that mental illness is a character flaw is all too prevalent. Subconsciously I guess I was conditioned to think that way. I say this because a few weeks after being diagnosed with BP I was talking to Ken (my wife's work colleague), and he asked how I was. Not knowing that my wife had confided in him I triedto explain wihtout going into too much detail that "I was having mood swings".

When he said "you're Manic Depressive" I found myself denying it because I responded "Oh no,I just have mood swings". We were both talking about the same thing but at the time the words 'Manic Depressive' just created a negative impression in my mind.

Anyway, I agree lack of appropriate care is a big problem both here in Canada and in England. But it's more to do with the fact that healthcare system "is based on a numbers game".The more patients treated the more fund available, and a 'patch them up and ship them out' philosophy.

Prevention strategies and long-term care are just further down the priority list. I guess at the end of the day mental health is not a 'vote getter'.

I really must stop ranting.  

Blogger moodymicello said...
I agree with you. And it's not only government. Health insurance refusing to pay for more than a few days puts people back on the street before they are ready, too. Then there again the boomerang effect. It is too bad that someone doesn't champion the cause of the mentally ill and the attached stigma the way they have other things like drugs, smoking, breast cancer, etc. It would be a good cause for one of the U.S. First Lady's to take up. Tipper Gore did; but, unfortunately, the vice president's wife doesn't have much clout in this country. Maybe I should write a letter to Laura Bush. I do believe there is an inequitability in the way mental health patients are treated as compared to those with physical health problems. No doubt at all.  

Blogger xxan said...
I think we still have, even in civilized countries such as Canada, the US, Europe, an EXTREMELY long way to go before psychiatric diseases are treated, looked upon as the the physical ones. Also in research. And without the stigma.  

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