Monday, November 04, 2013

another mass shooting...*yawn*

It seems like shootings that capture national attention have become the norm.  There's a different one every week. They capture our attention for a day and that's it. Its funny how there are 32,000 gun deaths in this country a year, but we don't give attention to that.  It has to be a big splashy shooting or multiple victims for us to notice.  But..hey... I'm getting away from the point of this post.

It is really beginning to infuriate me how every time there is a mass shooting, the subject of mental health comes up.  There is talk implying that if only this person had received proper help it could have been prevented.  Politicians talk about need for "mental health care reform".  Blah blah blah.  Soon that dies out.

What infuriates me is that the average American has no idea about how bad the mental health care system is in this country.  They don't realize that mental health problems are treated very differently from physical health problems.  If you want counseling it will have to be pre-approved by the insurance company who will put a limit on the amount of visits.  Then there is the fact that there is a shortage of psychiatrists.  Good luck finding one or getting a timely appointment.

Then there is  hospital mental health treatment.  If you come into the ER in a crisis, your visit will be 4-6 hours.  It may extend up to 24 hours if there are no beds available.  You may end up in podunk city, 200 miles from the ER you came in to.  You may be transferred there because there are no rooms at our ER. Sometimes there are no beds in the state.  Then you stay in the ER, up  to that 24 hours.

Shy is mental health in such a state?  Lack of psychiatrists. Insurance companies don't want to pay for it like they do for physical problems.  A big part of it is the attitude toward mental health in the United States.  It is still considered a personal failing. You should be able to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and stop whining. There is a huge stigma.  We fear people with mental illness. For shits sake, there is talk of having a national registry of mentally ill people that can be accessed if they try to buy a gun. Well, good luck with that since half the population is on antidepressants.

My point?  Lets just stop the bullshit.  This country is not ready to really deal with mental illness. For it to be treated on the same level as physical illness, it would take a huge cultural change. That's not going to happen anytime soon.


Mathi Bear said...

I agree. It fails noticeably at the big flashy kids-shooting-up-the-schools level, but mostly at the societal level and the perception of mental illness. The overall attitude toward mental illness is so negative that by the time a person is willing to ask for help they are in bad shape. By the time they find out their insurance only covers a few psych visits a year they have let the problem go until they need more.
Celebrities admitting to depression and addiction helps with the public image a bit.
Figuring out some way to have an annual mental health checkup/screening added to the physical one would probably help more.

jimbo26 said...

The health problem isn't usually found until AFTER the atrocity has been committed .

Anonymous said...

If you come to our ER, we'll keep you for the duration of your 5 day hold in a windowless crisis room. You can sleep on a padded bench. You may or may not get a shower. You will be stared at by a "sitter" as though you're a goldfish. A mental health professional will come by once a day to see how you're doing. If you weren't having a psychotic crisis before you checked in, we will guarantee you have one before you leave!
The above scenario is possible as an adult and guaranteed if you are a pediatric or adolescent patient. Our problems with treating mental health patients are only going to get worse.
As a side note, in many places blind people can legally obtain guns. It is a right after all. And we can't discriminate a disability.

girlvet said...


Greatdescription of mental health treatment in ER...