So here we go again The thoughts of trust and improvement are gone and replaced with with ‘doubt’ ‘guilt and ‘how could I have missed it again’. But with these thoughts come the even more concreted thought that I have heard endless times over the years. ‘In the end nothing I could have done would have prevented it. I know my daughters determination is there for the negative, but also the positive. She is still here, she’s hanging on and in her own way she is asking for help.
The Mental Health System is yet another obstacle in her recovery.
With private psychiatrists who can pick and choose and drop her if she becomes too difficult. A private health system that seems to only have a capacity to take her when she is out of crisis and willing to engage in some therapeutic help. ( totally ludicrous considering the nature of mental health issues and difficulty getting my daughter to understand and be willing to engage in such therapy)
Which leaves us to continue to bleed on the ever exhausted and over stretched public system which can only have the capacity to keep putting out the spot fires and hence we live in the danger that this crisis will continue on much longer so they don’t consider her just stable enough to move her out due to their desperate need for the bed.
It beggars belief that if a mentally unwell individual feels she is safer from herself (her fears, her anxieties, her depression and her suicidal thoughts) and she is in a place surrounded by professionals who are trained in managing these very issues, then why in heavens name can she not stay there until she feels safer and more competent in helping herself? And if a public system can’t provide that then a private facility; that I pay through the nose to have insurance for, should have the capacity to to take her. In crises or not.
This chronic failure of our system results in a silent wave of 50 preventable suicides a week. My daughter was almost one of those 50 this week.
Patrick McGorry (the executive director of Orygen, the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, and founding director of Headspace) has written in The Australian Newspaper (Saturday November 14) discussing this very issue.
Below is some of what he has to say.
The Turnbull government has the opportunity, the means and the economic and public health imperative to do for mental health what has already been achieved in cancer and cardiovascular disease.
In cancer, we practise prevention wherever possible. We place a huge premium on lifesaving early diagnosis. Once diagnosed, the full complement of evidence-based treatment is guaranteed and made available. If 16 courses of chemotherapy are required to give the best chance of remission, then this is provided. Patients are not short-changed for financial reasons as they are in mental health.
Everyone agrees we have a poorly designed and broken mental health system that has not delivered. We spend only $7.6 billion on direct mental healthcare out of a total of about $140bn on the whole health system.
However, the commonwealth also needs to work with the states to redesign acute services and transform them from the traumatic risk and containment centres they so often are to truly therapeutic environments.
All Australians who need mental healthcare have a right to receive it in a timely way that is developmentally and culturally appropriate, and with sufficient expertise and staying power to meet their unique needs.