Monday, January 30, 2012
Local Mental Health Services - A Rant
<==RANT MODE ON==>
Well it's 2:30am here & again I can't sleep, so my mind has been wandering. One thing that has been on my mind lately is the quality of the mental health services where I now live in regional NSW. Truthfully, I'm not happy with it at all.
I lived in Sydney for about 30 years prior to moving back to the area where I was born. With my mental health problems I just couldn't handle the city life any more - I had to get somewhere that had a more relaxed lifestyle. I'm not living in the sticks, this town has a population of around 35,000 but that's a lot less than the millions in Sydney, which is about 2 hours away.
Up there I was used to dealing with pretty well organised mental health services - many hospitals have 24hr mental health staff & mental health wards. It wasn't THAT hard to find help when it was needed, at any hour of the day. But here it is so different.
I have met a number of mental health workers down here & all seem to be good, professional people, though it appears overworked. But it seems at times the system here fails those in need, quite badly at times. If you are in need of help after hours, good luck finding it locally. The nearest 24hr services are about an hour away, where the staff are expected to cover the needs of several large hospitals.
You would think that a town this size would have better. It seems the regular treatment in the hospital is to wait for the person to calm down a little then send them home with promises of a follow-up from the local Community Mental Health Services - which seems to get lost somewhere, as often the calls don't eventuate. A town this size deserves better - the people deserve better.
An example of this breakdown in services happened to a friend of mine a couple of weeks ago. Mentally, he was in a terrible state. He'd been cutting himself & another friend went to help him but needed to call the police. After the police arrived he pulled a knife on them. They were ready to tazer him. The end result was an ambulance was called & he was taken to the hospital.
The last thing I expected was for him to be released a couple of hours later with nothing more than a promise of a couple of follow up calls, one for an appointment with a local service & the other to be from community health. Well he DID get the one about the appointment but as far as I know he's still waiting for the other call.
The hospital simply doesn't have the facilities to deal with these types of situations. Being the only major hospital for an hour in any direction you would think that it could provide something better. Sadly it doesn't, and this isn't an isolated incident that I've seen, it's been happening to another friend for months.
Mental health is a major problem and needs more support from governments. If a town this size can't provide appropriate around-the-clock services, what hope do sufferers have who live in more isolated areas.
<==RANT MODE OFF==>
Feels good to have that off my chest. :)
The information contained in this blog can not be considered medical advice. These are only my own thoughts, feelings & ideas. If you or someone you know are having problems with mental illness please seek qualified medical advice.