Why is mental illness treated so much differently than physical illness in our society? Is it part of the individualism that this country so highly values? Pull yourselves up by your bootstraps and stop complaining,whining. Be strong. Get it together.
Mental illness is no different from physical illness. It is not something that an individual chooses. It happens due to circumstances, stress, heredity. It is a chemical imbalance that very often needs medication to manage. Not always, but more time than not.
Mental illness is an epidemic in this country, but we don't treat it that way. The way we treat it reminds me of how those with AIDS were treated when it first started being recognized. There was fear, blame, stigma. So many people never get treatment because they don't want to be labelled. They believe what we are told that going for help means you are weak. So their illness gets worse.
When it gets to the point of no return, they can't deal with it anymore, they present to ER. They are feeling suicidal, have attempted suicide. They come into an ER that is not prepared to deal with them. Physical stuff can be dealt with, maybe fixed. Mental illness? Not so much. ER staffs don't have time to spend listening. Often patient sit waiting for hours. Their admission, unlike physical illness problems, has to be pre-approved. There is a shortage of psychiatrists.
Their are often few, if any, beds available. Mental health beds are not a priority for hospitals. They're not money makers. When their are no beds, people have to be transferred to another local hospital, and in some cases, to a hospital a couple hundred miles away. Sometimes they spend 24 hours in the ER.
That's what happened to a lady I had last week. They wanted to transfer her to a hospital about 150 miles away. She was not rational to begin with, this caused her to lose control. Security was called. She ended up not going to the other hospital, after a few hours she got a bed with us.
When I see these kinds of things happen, I think about how hard it must have been to come in the first place. Then you sit for hours. Then you are told you will be going 150 miles away from your family to be hospitalized. Its a crime how mental health is handled in this country.