Navigating Mental Health Might Drive You Crazy!
Written by: Leah Jeunnette, Ph.D.(c)
Ever tried to navigate the mental health field—either for yourself or a loved one? Getting a clear diagnosis and plan, or even the name of an appropriate specialty psychiatrist or psychologist can be difficult, frustrating, and far from fruitful.
To those needing help, the system can appear uncommunicative, unhelpful, unequipped. Apparent obstacles can ramp frustration so high that it seems easier to suffer than navigate the complex system for treatment. That can lead to unresolved illnesses with devastating consequences . . . .
Mental health issues alarmingly plague our country. Mood disorders, substance abuse, and impulse control are just a few making tragic, often sensationalized headlines. Yet mental illness is an illness, generally treatable like most illnesses, and should be treated as such, compassionately, with informed, supportive care.
Poorly managed,chronic mental illness leads to other health and social issues posing challenges not only to patients themselves, but to care providers. However, these patients, even when difficult, should never be expected to surrender their autonomy or dignity or be treated like just a potential problem.
So, can we improve the system — shift the culture a bit toward better outcomes? Can we better provide education, access, and support where and when it is needed most — pro-actively, before tragedy strikes? Can we better inform patients and families? And better train and manage all healthcare workers, not just those in mental health — to effectively serve the whole patient, identifying warnings, communicating, and intervening sensitively? I think we can!