I want to begin today’s post by thanking each and every one of you for sharing your stories. So many of us have been touched by mental health challenges; either our own, or somebody we love. For me it is both. I’ve had my own battles, and yes, like many of you stated; thank God for the ability to cover the expenses of getting the health we need, whether it be because you live somewhere awesome like Denmark, and it is covered, or you have the financial means to do it for yourself. Whatever the positive reason for it, it truly is a blessing, to be able to help yourself and those you love when they need it.
I was struck by one reader, Jeanne, who shared that she is an active member in a church, and inside that organization the belief is that prayer will heal everything, because, God, heals all things. I was part of a church that lived by this same belief, to the point where our gay members were not allowed to be gay, or have desires of same sex relations. The thought was “prayer fixes everything.” As if something in them was broken. Anyway, I digress, this post isn’t about that, nor am I sure that this is something that your church also believes, but for me, back then and even today, is that yes God is all powerful, but there are so many scriptures in the bible that speak to “faith without deeds is dead.” So, whether inside a church or outside of one we cannot heal, repair, or change something in ourselves or for anybody else if we don’t do the work. Sometimes as is the case with mental illness that work is therapy, or more intense but inpatient care. I look to Demi Lovato who just overdosed on heroine. The internet is on fire with judgement, judgement that because she is a celebrity people are wishing her well and their hearts are broken, meanwhile, when we see addicts on the street, and we see them all day every day in a big city like Toronto we just walk on by, without a second thought to the fact that these people with mental health issues are also somebody’s child who deserve the right to a full life. IF, they were able to get he help they need for their addiction. So, stones are being thrown at the people in support of Demi, as if it’s her fault she happens to be a person with mental health challenges and also happens to be famous. Yes, we need to all work harder to have empathy for those in our own back yard dealing with the same issues, but let us not take away the empathy people are showing for her, because, let’s be frank the world could use all the empathy it can get these days. Because mental health isn’t just about psychosis, and acting out violent tendencies, it is also about addiction, self harm, and eating disorders. There are so may ways that our minds can wreck havoc on our lives, and we, as a country, no, I take that back, the world over, are ill informed, and ill prepared to help. And the more toxic our environment comes, the more mental health issues, such as autism, Asperger, etc will come into play and then what do we do when these children become adults, too large for their parents to manage on their own? Where do they go?
I completely agree with my reader John, and I’m posting his comment here, because after I wrote this blog I did give it a great deal of thought about how the government is NOT the answer, unless of course we want history to repeat itself. Which I’m confident none of us do; building these mental health utopias, must be private. In order for this to be a thing that happens it needs to come from the 1% creating these safe places for those who need it to live freely, and well in.
“Yes, very well said. Currently our Hospitals don’t have beds for people suffering from heart attacks as just an example. Mental health beds, are non existent. So much “talking” has been done (Bell Let’s Talk for 1 example) aimed at reducing the stigma. I fully support that, BUT, what happens when the person who gets the courage to ask for help, cannot get any? Well, if we allow ourselves to finally admit it, we all can see EXACTLY what could happen. Health care in general, has been turned into “bureaucrats,” not “help.”
This MUST change.
That’s my 2 cents at least.”
You’re exactly right John, and the Bell Let’s Talk initiative is wonderful for assisting in removing the stigma of mental health issues, but then what? Where do they go once they come out of the darkness looking for the light? This is what needs to happen next, and sooner rather than later. Which is my 2 cents.