An Argument For Mental-Health Funding

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While keeping my social distance, I want to ensure that I stay connected to my family and friends. As we are social creatures, it’s crucial for us if we are going to get through this outbreak. In this regard, I am grateful for technology. From a mental-health point of view, we are not going to get through this unscathed. So, in this post, I want to lay out an argument for mental-health funding.

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Right off the top, I have to say that this is only conjecture on my part but bear with me. From my check-ins with the people I know, I have observed that there is an increase in their fear and uncertainty, two factors that are completely understandable given that our nations have ground to a halt.

Moreover, people are concerned about their loved ones, their jobs and even their bills. I want to do my part to be there for them if they should need a place to talk. We can get through this and, although we can’t physically be together, we have the technology to keep in contact.

Laying out my argument

What I find concerning, has been the number of people who are living in fear, a fear that grows with each passing week. The numbers got me thinking about the long-term mental health impacts this virus will have on people in the end. In my view, the prospects of widespread trauma are staggering. Canada, a nation of 37 million, spend $50 billion (2011) a year on mental health, a staggering number. (Source: Making The Case for Mental Health in Canada).

The study goes on to talk about fixing this expenditure with more investment – investment in key areas, therapists, psychiatrists, programs etc., an investment that would put the menta- health budgets back in the black. Essentially, it makes an argument for mental-health funding.

Now, with all that out of the way, I would like to talk about the potential uptake in mental-health conditions as we move through these uncertain times. Perhaps the best example I can provide is that of PTSD and trauma in general.

Fill in your time contacting friends and family.

Right now, we are constantly being bombarded with news of the outbreak and its impact. So then, what does this mean for our mental health? Well, in the CBC feature; Killer curiosity: PTSD risks associated with watching graphic videos, the idea of vicarious trauma is explored.

It turns out that humans are susceptible to what they see on videos. In the case of videos that depict human suffering, it can traumatize a person thus leading some to a diagnosis of PTSD. In other words, it’s as good as being there in terms of its impact.

Remember, we are warriors, and we will get through this war.

Front and back cover of the road to mental wellness - 8 sings your relationship is hurting your mental health.
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Our social-media platforms help keep us connected, but their ability to make trauma pervasive and on tap may increase the rates of people with PTSD. It’s sad to think that one doesn’t have to leave their home to have their mental well-being destroyed.

Perhaps, what’s most troubling to me is the number of people who are unaware of video’s destructive power. Exposing themselves to the most devastating aspects of this unprecedented time has the potential to severally impact their mental health. Therefore, it stands to reason that there may very well be an increase in diagnosable mental illnesses.

For those with post-traumatic stress disorder:

Fact: The World Health Organization recommends that nations commit 10% of their healthcare budgets to mental health.

It should go without saying that those of us with PTSD will be triggered by this outbreak. I know I have been and it has indeed had an impact. Every day, I think about what lies around the corner for me in terms of a traumatic event. For example, my neighbourhood is predominantly retired. Because the virus impacts the elderly the most, I oftentimes feel trapped within the chaos of the outbreak. Of course, we are undoubtedly all feeling “shack wacky.” However, I am fearful that a scenario will play out much in the same way that has stricken me with my mental-health condition.

While these times are triggering and serve as fuel for the trauma fires that burn deep, they are unavoidable. Sadly, we don’t have the luxury to avoid a pandemic. What we can do, however, is limit our time checking and rechecking our phones. This only exacerbates our anxieties and fears that come with being mentally ill. We can also set limits, commit to getting briefings three times a day, for example. Instead, fill in your time contacting friends and family, reconnecting and enjoy each other’s company.

We are warriors.

In conclusion, I feel that the body of this post makes an argument for mental health funding in two ways: 1), It shows that, while we may not be active in our physical environments, we can still be traumatized through the constant bombardment of graphic video. This could lead to more diagnosable PTSD cases. And 2), those with PTSD may end up needing more supports after we emerge on the other side of things. Remember, we are warriors, and we will get through this war. Be kind and respectful, and please, take care.

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Jonathan Arenburg

Jonathan Reginald-Nixon Arenburg (Born January 14, 1976) is a Canadian mental health blogger, speaker, and published author. Retired from the fire service and long-term care fields, he has written and self-published an autobiographical account of his life-long battle with anxiety, depression and more recently, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Titled, The Road To Mental Wellness, he wrote it for what he calls “therapeutic release.” He published it in hopes it would help others going through similar mental health conditions. The sales of The Road To Mental Wellness have been steady selling over 300 copies since its release on October 10, 2021(World Mental Health Day). Arenburg has also been involved in a collaborative publication Called Lemonade Stand Volume III, a book featuring 20 authors who bravely tell their stories of PTSD. All authors where from the military and or emergency services. Published by Joshua Rivedal and Kathleen Myers for the i’Mpossible project, a mental health advocacy organization. Jonathan has also appeared on several mental health podcasts including The Depression Files, A New Dawn, and The Above Ground Podcast Arenburg has also consulted with the Government of Nova Scotia and the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, the Honorable Brian Comer and Candidates for the New Democratic Party of Canada, on improving the mental health care system in Canada. Additionally, Jonathan was recognized in The Nova Scotia Legislature by the Honorable, Chris Palmer, Kings-North MLA, for his Book, The Road To Mental Wellness, his fight to make the mental health care system better. In addition, Chis acknowledged the support he gives to others.

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