Mental Health

Mental health remains an incredibly taboo subject. Just on the surface, the stats show that the majority of people in employment feel that their employer expects them to keep quiet about stress and other mental illness. I’m going to bust the taboo right open with some Salad Truth.

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I’m apparently an ‘at-risk’ category for mental health. Young, male, and in employment. Not drinking alcohol would probably be another pressure to put me into that category, but that’s a bit more specific to me. Apparently that means I’m more than a little unlikely to tell anybody, never the less ask somebody for help if I was suffering from some kind of mental illness.

Thing is, mental illness is a common thing. 1 in 4 people will experience some kind of mental illness every year.

But yeah, I’ll step right over the taboo. I’ve been diagnosed with depression. I was pretty much certain I had it for a while, but I finally decided to go to the doctor and do something about it. Turns out they reckon its severe enough to offer me medications straight off the bat.

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Medications work for some people who suffer mental illness, but I do not want to be going to down that route – hopefully ever. In my job I see the damage the medications that are supposed to help people with mental illness can do to them. Have we really gone any further than sedating the mentally ill? Now we just pump the mentally ill full of hormones instead.

That said, if medications work for you then go for them – take every chance you can to improve your mental health. I will be going down the counselling route. I’ve never had counselling, so talking to somebody about my worries might well do me some good.

The thing is, given the background of how taboo mental health is, how ‘at-risk’ I am supposed to be and how much effort it takes to actually go to a doctor about your mental health – I came away from my doctor’s appointment with nothing.

I cannot fault the doctor, she was professional and genuinely concerned to get me treatment. It was news to me though, even as someone who works within the health sector, that you have to self-refer yourself for any treatment other than medications. It’s up to a highly vulnerable, potentially unstable, and possibly suicidal patient to then go and seek their own treatment after using every last bit of courage to go and see a doctor in the first place.

That doesn’t make sense!

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People will quite honestly die with that kind of policy. Those who are genuinely suicidal will never self refer themselves, and most doctor’s surgeries don’t offer any kind of emergency psychiatric treatment for vulnerable patients – although I was lucky that my doctor stressed that their surgery is one of the rare ones that does.

I know depressed young adults who aren’t even given the details of somewhere they can self-refer to for treatment; they’re just fobbed off to their educational establishment’s internal nursing team. As if teams like that really exist properly any more in this era of service cuts!

I know plenty of adults who have had drugs thrown at them for their mental illnesses. Many of whom become seriously physically ill from the side effects of the medications.

The current mental health is caring for their mental health patients palliatively.

Palliative care is a medical term you’ll often see used for elderly care or cancer care. Patients who are irreversibly ill, who will sadly pass away because of their illnesses, are treated in a way to alleviate their symptoms to give them the best quality of life possible in their final days.

What that means in practice is that you stop looking for the cause of the illness and treat the symptoms rather than the causes. That’s what throwing medications at mentally ill patients is – palliative care. It makes me sad; sad that so many unhealthy patients aren’t getting the help they need.

I don’t want to rant too much though. It is after all the season of festive cheer!

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I’ll be looking into getting some counseling, so don’t worry about me. I just want this post to be a voice out there on the internet for better mental health care, it’s long overdue!

Digital Salad – lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com

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2 thoughts on “Mental Health

  1. j3w3l December 22, 2014 / 9:50 am

    The palliative care situation is pretty much why I didn’t want to follow on with my psych degree. Did a few placements in some mental health facilities as part of the Psych degree and I was just so appalled at the way the system treats people. Well I should say not even treating people, they are treating an illness first.

    I also did some work with social work community organisation and was amazed at just how different, but more beneficial such an approach was. Just talking to people and being there for them. Treating them like human beings again. Was kinda nice.

    • Digital Salad December 23, 2014 / 8:28 pm

      Thanks for the comment!

      It sounds like you’ve had a fascinating experience, maybe not always in the most positive of ways. The palliative approach to mental health just isn’t treating, just like you say. It’s down right depressing, just giving up on ever trying to work on the symptoms. Often all it needs is someone to talk to and care for them as humans – and that’s really so simple.

      I’m glad you liked the post though. Merry Christmas!

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