Great, the advertisements for Bell’s annual “Let’s Talk” feel-good event have already started.
Certainly, this overly-sanitized marketing machine does some good for some people, despite how many more who really need the help it ignores and leaves behind.
And I’ve talked before about the less-than-picture-perfect responses that often greet those who do come forward for help with their mental health.
That post was seven years ago. Things have gotten a lot worse since then when it comes to finding help. Some unexpected places, like Victoria, seem to exist in an alternate reality when it comes to mental health services. Scary for a place dripping with more money than anywhere else we’ve lived.
In the medical system, lack of psychiatrists is certainly a problem. But perhaps more critical is how completely unsustainable family medicine is. That’s leading to totally predictable closures and anger from GP’s who tried to make it work.
Remember, traditionally most people received most mental health care in the medical system from family doctors. With five minute appointments, and never seeing the same doctor twice, that’s not working.
And random telehealth service (Bell competitor’s Telus Health service is only the worst, but by no means only, example) is making it worse. I’ve lost track of how many useless referrals we’ve gotten from those services. Google psychiatrist, ignore very blatant “not taking patients” notice or mandatory referral criteria, send a generic boilerplate referral “see for depression” with no required information. It’s an automatic reject, but that’s for the next random doctor who sees the patient on the telehealth service to deal with. It’s taken buff and turf to a whole new low.
Make no mistake, this is the system we’ve built for ourselves.
My previous Let’s Talk post had a tone of “expect the worst, but keep at it, and you’ll eventually find help.” I’m less sure of that than ever before.
TLDR:services are the biggest problem, not stigma