How can we help the maximum amount of people with a two-tiered mental health-care system? My contention: you can’t.Tweet
It should surprise no one that 2020 and 2021 are two years for the history books. I mean, whoever thought wearing a mask would become a standard accessory? Not me. Yet here we are.
So many changes. Sadly though, so much has remained the same. From my view, many of the things that need to change to keep us safe are being neglected. Most notable is the two-tiered system mental health care system we are all forced to live with. As far I can tell, it parallels with the severity of COVID 19 itself. I can’t help but think of how many will die by suicide when we finally defeat this virus. Will the numbers be greater or close to the numbers of those who dies of the covid? It all remains to be seen.
For me, when the pandemic began, I was, like many of you, scared to death. I thought to myself, “What the hell is going on?” The world as I knew it seemed to disappear overnight. Now, over two years in, we need to start thinking about ways to mitigate-the mental health consequences.
The best example I can think of for this was the quarantine. No one could tell us how long we would remain in our homes. Although being stuck within the four walls of my home at the time was painful, it was not as painful for me as it was for most, or so I assume. Living with PTSD, I prefer the solitude that only being at home brings.
For me, being isolated was easy on my battle with PTSD. Since my trauma was built in chaos, I was already in that state. Plus, the lockdown placed a muffler on the noise humanity makes when it’s going about its business.
So, this quiet gave me some much need headspace, allowing me to put a lot of energy into thinking about how we can use these tragic times to identify some of society’s biggest social challenges. Maybe this is exactly the type of thing we needed to force the changes that would better everyone’s lives.
Having what seemed like all the time in the world to solve these things, I concluded that this two-tiered mental-health care system has left the vulnerable even more so. What’s worse, a pandemic will leave an untold amount of people who lost loved ones and their jobs in this vulnerable category. I thought this is the time to push because this influx of menta illness would have to get addressed.
Having said that, I am a mental-health advocate; I have spent a lot of my time thinking about the potential damage COVID-19 would have on the pre-pandemic and post-pandemic populations. The ramifications, I thought, will be enormous.
So, after all that thinking, what did I conclude? I saw that the current mental-health system is insufficient. What I saw was two crucial issues: 1), the public system is severely under-funded and lacking the resources it needs and 2), the private mental-health care sector is too expensive for the many who need care, especially the marginalized.
Now, as the dust settles, and we are free to move about; many more people are desperate for help. Makes sense, right? But if this broken, two-tiered system was failing us before COVID, it is sure to leave those in need out in the cold afterwards.
In Crisis? Go to Crisis Services Canada
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Being through the public system, I saw how precarious it was before the world ground to a halt. So many people are turned away or otherwise discouraged because of the long wait times, they give up trying. What’s worse, many didn’t even bother because “What’s the point?” they wonder. A sad and disturbing reality.
With this in mind, the pandemic excited me in a sense because I hoped that governments and citizens alike would see this two-tiered system mentalhealth care system for what it is: divisive, costly, and morally wrong.
Want to hear more about the struggles of people fighting mental illness? Go to A New Dawn podcast.
Unfortunately, the “new normal” seems to consist only of social-distancing and mask-wearing. Other than that, it’s business as usual. What does this mean for us? Well, from my perspective, it means that the status quo will be seen as sufficient. So far, there has been no move to increase mental-health funding, no legislative move to make the system accessible to everyone, and no outcry to demand change…. We can do and must do better – our nation needs it.
However, we live in a society where money trumps compassion and thus funding will flow away from the right thing and into the corporate branch of our society. That is precisely why we need to merge our voices as one and insist on the necessary changes needed to get away from this two-tiered system.
Want to wear your support for mental health? Check out our Wellness shop
Checkout the book I helped to write:
Lemonade Stand: Vol. III
Created by Josh Rivedal and Kathleen Myre, Lemonade Stand: Vol. III is a compilation of 20 stories from those who have served in the emergency services and the military. In it, the authors talk about their battles with PTSD, a debilitating and for many, a life-long mental illness. So, if you are from the military or emergency services, perhaps this book can help you combat the feelings of isolation and fear that frequently come with post-traumatic stress disorder. Sometimes, just knowing that there are others out there, just like you, can provide you with the strength and courage to speak up and/or get the help you need. The intention of this book is to help with that…. You’re not alone.
Also, Lemonade Stand: Vol III was written to help combat the stigma that often accompanies mental illness, best of all, it attempts to give all who served their countries and communities a voice… Which is amazing!