Dear Health Care System: a Wish From Someone With Mental Health Obstacles

Hey there friend,

To start I want to say that I feel extremely blessed to live where I do. I have a wonderful health care system that supports everyone regardless of their social status. Sure, it isn't perfect by any means but it is a step above other less fortunate places in the world and I recognize that. This post is not to bash the system but to provide awareness to the things that need attention from an outside point of view.

Dear Health Care System,

There is a scared girl in your lobby seeking help. The heaviness in her heart has become too much to hold on her own. You keep her there for hours, move her from room to room and finally bring in a doctor. The night has grown long into an early morning and instead of relief there is a looming of anxiety as you tell her what to do. Sometimes you have a safe space for her to be honest about what she needs and sometimes you tell her to relax or she will have to stay the night in a white room and those options are the only two. She has probably come back more than once.

There is someone who is taking action on their depression and needing to see a psychologist ASAP. You tell them there is nothing you can do at your particular centre, to make an appointment with their doctor to get a referral to see an "emergency" practitioner. Only your practitioner has a mile long waitlist and they are doing the best they can to stay up and functioning until then. It's often better to go right to the ER but even then, it's a wait. They finally have a doctors appointment weeks after they need it.

There is a young man describing to you an illness that is hard to talk about. You listen with looks of judgement. You tell him he is fine and that he needs to go home and get some rest. The feelings don't subside and he's left wondering if all the things he feels are made up in his head.

Now I know it's a mass amount of people within the system, I know that most are trying their best. Something has to shift though so that a girl can be lead in the right direction, someone can start to heal and a man can find peace of mind. When people come in with broken bones and obvious physical damage it is treated differently than a hurt mind. Not every wound is on our bodies, some of them are inside. It hurts to feel like we cannot find the attention we need because even though it is internal, we all still bleed.

My wish is for us to be unafraid to come to you with our obstacles so that we too can live functional, full lives. I don't know where this starts in the grand scheme of it all. I just know that it needs to start to change. It can start individually. It starts with us not asking for what we want but demanding what we need. When we share our stories and stand up for our health then the requests become louder and we become stronger. A shift will come for sure. We have to keep pushing for more mental health care providers, more accessible therapy, well rounded understanding and integrated treatment plans.

Thank you from the waiting room.

This is super close to my heart. I have had many interesting experiences with the system and some have been good and others not so good. More than just my own health it has affected the people I love as well. It tears me up to see that someone I care about can't always get the attention they need to feel better.

Again, I acknowledge that I am blessed to have any system at all. I also understand that these things are progressive and can take some time and energy. I have hope that we can create awareness by sharing with each other our stories and what we need.

Love and Light,

Sahara