10.26.2019 05:23 PM

Mental health for who?

Important Elizabeth Renzetti column, below and here. Read:

We’re told, endlessly, to talk about our mental health, but so much of it is just hot air. For one thing, even though a significant portion of us will experience mental-health challenges in our lives, we still are worried about the repercussions of opening up, even to colleagues. A recent survey conducted by Ipsos Mori for Teladoc Health revealed that more than 80 per cent of respondents had not revealed their mental-health problems to anyone at work, worried about the possible negative consequences for their careers...

For a country of price-complainers – did you see how much cauliflower costs this week? – we seldom talk about how much we shell out to keep our minds in good running order. Maybe it’s a misplaced sense of shame, or a concern about privacy, or fear of being seen as “less than” in a society that values only triumph and success. Those are all understandable reasons. But until we talk about how much it costs us all individually, we’re not going to go far collectively toward making mental health services affordable and accessible for all.

In my case, there were many months when my family’s mental-health bill hit several hundred dollars, mainly for therapy. I’m not complaining; in fact, I would personally throw a parade for therapists if they’d let me, and I’d buy all the balloons and cake. My family is among the lucky ones. My husband and I have health benefits through our employer, which pay for drugs and for some therapy, but the cutoff is quickly reached, especially if you’re paying for more than one person’s regular treatment. After the cutoff, we pay out of pocket. Again, we’re fortunate that we’re able to; we can buy our way around the endless lines for publicly subsidized care. So many Canadians are not in the same position. If our health-care system is going to seriously tackle the mental-health crisis, and if it’s going to fulfill its legislated pledge of universality, that has to change.

12 Comments

  1. Neiner says:

    I picked up my prescriptions this week. Two mental health meds.
    I have good medication benefits still from my employer, even though I am on disability now.

    If I did not have the benefits I have one med would cost, for a month $158.46 I pay $18.06
    Other one $79.59 I pay $ 8.98

    I also take a cholesterol med, plus two other mental health meds as needed.

    Even with that, my pay out a month is sometimes close to $60

    I have supposed benefits for therapy, but only $75 an hour. Most therapists are $225 an hour and some won’t see a patient unless they can come a certain amount of times a week etc.

    I was in group therapy that was paid for by the government. It was ok with a smörgåsbord of different diagnosis’ in the group it was as best as could be expected.

    I’m thankful for my family doctor who has helped me tonnes navigating the system when I didn’t have the cognitive abilities to do so. She’s also been always a part of my care.

  2. There is a mental health crisis but availability to timely healthcare is lacking for those without money. The wealthy just go across the border to timely care, but those without can’t.
    Oh, that there were political leaders who cared to fix health care. But there aren’t. Already provincial budgets are strained with health care occupying 35-45% of the total budget. And this is steadily increasing!
    Medicare is unsustainable in its current form with rationed care the norm for people not wealthy. We need a desperate solution.

  3. Ronald O'Dowd says:

    That was one, but not a major consideration (for me), when I personally opted for psychiatric therapy, plus medication, some years ago and it worked wonders and positively changed my life.

    It’s important to seek treatment quickly when it’s required.

    • NeinerNeiner1 says:

      You’re right. Getting treatment quickly has shown to improve the chances of full recovery.

      Meds have been a life saver for me too.

  4. Mark says:

    Hallelujah! And from the “it’s even worse that it appears” department…

    For many people who get past the stigma and speak up, they’re met with… nothing. Or “what do you want me to do?” Or “you’re fine.” Or “here’s a pill…” (that does what and will help how?) or “go talk to someone” (who exactly can help?). In other words, tons of people get stuck well before they get to the point of realizing they can’t afford it.

    My psychiatrist wife and I are just finishing up a book to help people on this “mental health navigation” front about who to see, what to ask, how to make sense of the options, etc. The fact there’s a desperate need for a how-to manual to even seek care should scare the shit out of all of us.

    Thanks goodness our health care system(s) rarely measures its (their) performance. It might make someone look bad.

  5. Brian says:

    As someone who went through a battle myself, I just want to say this….

    My mental health problem stemmed from diet and lack of vitamin D. All I have to say is this: Two weeks after I visited my STATE SPONSORED doctor for my physical I had lost 20 pounds and was a mental and emotional mess…. When I returned, terrified, all she said was: “The weight loss is a red flag. I’m going to send you to an internist. Have you ever been to one? It’ll take about a month…”

    I came home, joined The Cleveland Clinic with every penny I could scrimp together, because I sure as hell ain’t rich and in 8 hours, they determined that my raw, leafy green veggie smoothies that my ex-GF (that moron) told me to start doing, were killing my thyroid because they were so high in iodine and that my vitamin D had dropped to 43. So… THS count of 10 and vitamin D so low it was almost barely detectable.

    Mental health isn’t all “mental” all the time. Plant based diets can do great damage to your body and mind too and make you look and feel mentally ill.

    One more thing: I detest Bell Let’s Talk Day. It’s the most depressing day of the year and truly, if there’s any day that I feel like killing myself it’s this one.
    I wish it would go away. I’m so tired of watching a big corporation profit off the plight of others, it sickens me. Sure, they raise money… They also prey on the emotional capital of others and use it to further their business interests. It’s the one day of the year that I ignore media altogether.

    Time to put mental illness where it belongs—a private problem for private people. All people really need are some good therapists that aren’t marxists, communists or sex change promoters… (Visit a state sponsored psychiatrist. They’re sicker than the patients most of the time.)

    NB: Thank God for two tier medical clinics. We need to begin a privatisation process Canadian medicine… Why? Because my aunt was just told that she can’t have bypass surgery because she’s too old… How is that “a woman’s right to her own body.” Canada has become a real life version of Logan’s Run where the state tells you when it’s time to die. We live in a sick society designed by liberalism to destroy our health, well being and national pride. Sick.

    • NeinerNeiner1 says:

      I agree with the diet issue. Also high dosages of folic acid are not good for men. Women need more folic acid.

      Thankfully you were able to correct your issue by changing your diet.

      When I was first diagnosed, I went through major blood work & check up to rule out any other possible reasons for my issues. I had no thyroid issues, diabetes, or any off values in my organ functions.

      Mental illness isn’t any more of a private issue than any other medical condition. If people wish to speak on it, they should be able to without the stigma attached to it.

      Another thing to consider is the people who can’t afford the treatments & how it effects their quality of life. As well as society on a whole. It is much better for people to be well & more productive members of society than to be sick and not.

      Many people get mad about homeless people, but there is a high percentage of homeless that are mentally ill. So if given a chance, given proper treatment there is a good possibility they could function much better. I’ve seen it myself. Sadly the gentleman couldn’t afford his meds. So after about six months wound up back on the street and psychotic again.

      I am sorry to hear about your aunt, but there are likely other contributing factors as to why they can’t do the surgery. If she has issues say with liver function there is a possibility she won’t come out of of the anesthesia for example.

      Bypass surgery is very traumatic to the body. The patient has to be stable or they won’t even consider it. I know someone who is in their 80’s and had it. So likely age is a minimal factor but overall health is the major.

      The rehab from a bypass surgery is also very intensive.

      I hope she gains enough strength so she can have the surgery.

    • Brian says:

      That’s not the point… If we can “choose” to commit state sponsored suicide, then I have the right also, to a bypass if I want one… Euthanasia is cheaper… That’s the point. This country is beyond sick when I can’t fight to live but it’s okay for me to choose to die when I want at taxpayer expense.

  6. Brian says:

    I just wanted to address this one point you made:

    “If people wish to speak on it, they should be able to without the stigma attached to it.”

    Why does their right to crow about their mental illness trump my right not to want to listen to it…. Basically, the openness being created by media and corporations around the plight of the individual is destroying any level of toughness that people may have (or want to have). Most people that claim stress and depression are really nothing more than people having a bad day and nobody calls them on their crap.

    Here’s the thing: Nobody cares about anyone else’s problems. The faster we plant that little nugget in the weak minded, the faster we can actually start to deal with those that actually need the help.

    When you share deep issues with anyone, suddenly the whole world knows that about it…. When you open your mouth about YOUR problems, you become a target for gossip and talk show fodder. Time people learned to shut up again. We’ve indoctrinated citizens into believing that every problem they have should be for public consumption and if someone says: “Look, I don’t care about your problems,” the uncaring get vilified.

    Your own problems are your problems; to be dealt with between you and your family, they are not currency to be used willy nilly as a means of getting sympathy or views or “likes” or to be profited upon as Bell Let’s Talk Day does.

    My father got off a cattle ship in Quebec at 15 years old and went to a coal mine. He succeeded and failed his whole life and thankfully left this world with more wins than losses but he did it on his own. How many people came out of concentration camps, shell shock, poverty and loss from wars and torturous living conditions? How many of them bit down hard and just worked through life? How come they all are better off than they should be according to the fools of psychotherapy and pharma-pill pushing. The sooner people realise that in order to be healthy and happy, you don’t need anyone but yourself, the faster we’ll all be a lot better off.

    The happy pill culture needs to end.

    • NeinerNeiner1 says:

      I am not one for self pity, I have never thrown myself that type of party & never will. I don’t get into the oppression olympic games with anyone.

      Silence as you are talking about is what kept me quite about being lured at the age of six. That stopped me from telling anyone when a best friend attacked me at 12. That made me not tell anyone about being stalked by a serial rapist who went onto murder. As a result, I have a good bout of survivors guilt.

      I could go on. My life has been no picnic, but I have found ways to be happy. I have good supports in place thankfully. It my concerns had not been taken seriously it would be a different story.

      All that silence is what resulted in what I deal with today. I was raised to believe I should just suck it up & deal with it. That there were kids dying in the hospital & nothing I was experiencing could be as bad as what others go through.

      Silence & thinking I should just shut up is what almost killed me.

      If not for mental health meds, I would be dead. There is no two ways about that.

      You are free to turn off or tune out of Bell Let’s Talk day if you wish. You are free to not listen to folks like me who have mental illness if you choose. But you don’t have a right to silence anyone. Just as I don’t have a right to silence you.

      • NeinerNeiner1 says:

        I wish to add.

        I had two great uncles who were “shell shocked” from the wars. One lived some what of a normal life, the other in an institution until he died.

        You mention about the ones who bit down & fought through life but there are many who couldn’t and died from suicide as a result.

        It is similar to saying “back in our day we didn’t wear seat belts or helmets etc and we turned out ok” Maybe the ones of us who survived did, some left with injuries but no one considers the death that resulted in the lack of safety measures.

  7. Michael says:

    “Here’s the thing: Nobody cares about anyone else’s problems.”
    This is untrue. The divide between those who do care about other peoples problems and those who don’t is about the same as the divide between the right and the rest of the country. In my opinion it is the thing that defines the right. They simply cannot fathom why anyone would care about that which does not affect them.

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