I have not been on my soapbox in a long time…guess it’s that time again…It really irks me to see how certain mental health conditions are NOT taken seriously and if they are, too often the are bunched up into other labels that probably scare furture patients from getting treatment.
I hear it often…a person admits to self-injury and some professionals are thinking in their head already, “Hmmm, sounds like borderline personailty disorder.” Why? If the youth or teen gets the proper help and counselling early on, it won’t multiply into other complicated lables the system gives. But if you want to get into the system, perhaps you need to qualify only IF you have certain conditions. Who the heck makes these assumptions and these rules?!!!
What is happening with our mental health care system? I hear from youths on a daily basis who suffer some form of self-injury. Thank goodness my place of work has an anonymous line because youths and teens have such difficulty in getting support, compassionate counselling and are constantly stigmatized by their peers at school, educators and by the medical system.
A teen will get to their closest ER and if it is the first or second time they are consulting they may get some empathy but many times when they need to treat some wounds, the body language of some professionals show disdain and impatience. Why? Because they are not equipped to help. Because too many are not equipped or skilled to help these persons who want to stop self-harming but are not getting the support they need.
Now I am not saying all medical professionals are impatient. I know of nurses who explain to some youths how to take care of their wounds to prevent infection. How to clean it properly and what not to do and what to do. Those nurse are Florence Nightingales!! They are trying to prevent their patients from more serious injuries. They get it! And they must feel just as powerless and bound by the “system” because these persons are not getting the proper mental health care they deserve.
After listening to this video, I heard psychiatrists admitting how we are doing so poorly in helping persons suffering with this condition. As one psychiatrist said, if they did not have a diagnosis before the got into the system, by the time they are in it…they will have so many labels, it is enough to make any one go insane!
Talking about it is important. Keeping the silence because it makes people uncomfortable is NOT okay. Keeping the silence because we are afraid it will be contagious and give other youths and teens ideas is like saying sex education will make youths have sex way too early.
Not long ago we could not even talk about suicide in case it gave ideas to other persons related or close to a person who committed suicide. Talking about any form of mental health is part of the solution not part of the problem.
I hope this video enlightens you as much as it did me…
© Cheryl-Lynn Roberts, May 1, 2013