Giving a Voice to the Silence offers positive angles to the issue that faces those with mental illness. Living with Schizo-Affective Disorder and being able to share my experiences with others, is the best way I know how to pay it forward. Life can be difficult, my goal is to bring a bit of hope to a place where many feel there is none.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

“H” is for Healthcare, Hope and Happiness #atozchallenge

I combine these three in this way; I have hope for happiness with the right healthcare; it is and has been, however, easier said than done.  One of the greatest challenges those with a mental illness face are healthcare.   It is unfortunately difficult to find a psychiatrist at times, a specialty the medical field that few seem to gravitate to.  If a good doctor is found the next obstacle is insurance, there is a major problem when it comes to insurance and their willingness to pay for mental health care, leaving the person to pay out of pocket.  This is one of the people do not go for care; they can’t afford it and insurance companies won’t pay for it.  An article in February of this year talks about mental health care and the Affordable Care Act,  while insurance companies will now be required to fund care, finding doctors to the take the insurance may be another battle, due to the shortage of doctor's and the overload of patients who will seek care.  

It amazes me that one of the first things to be cut from a budget is psychiatric care, clinics and hospitals. It is sad to know that those who are mentally ill are neglected in the healthcare area, when they need it the most.  A article from October 2013, talks of  President John Kennedy’s vision for mental health care and that, Fifty years later, our biggest providers of mental health care in the U.S.A. are not hospitals or community mental health centers at all… but prisons.”  His vision was never realized, and today we find more and more people in jail rather than receiving the treatment they need.  While incarcerated they are still not given the help they need further complicating the person's illness. 

There are countless articles and news reports on the lack of funding and doctor’s available to treat those with psychiatric illnesses, but they are not usually brought to the forefront until something goes wrong, such as a school shooting.  It is only then that it is addressed, and the questions come as to why it continues to be allowed.  Mental illness is no different than cancer, or diabetes, but is looked at as something to be swept under the rug and not talked of – something that has not changed over the years. 

The sad thing is so many people could be helped, and maybe many disasters avoided if only we listened.   In some cases, these acts are being carried out as a cry for help, not to hurt people but so someone will notice, and they can get help.  If you ask someone with a mental illness if they have ever attempted suicide for attention, you will find that the answer very well will be yes, it’s a cry for help in a world that just does not want to listen.  

The conversation and finger pointing will go on for years to come, I am afraid, but it is a reality we must face.  It is why I decided to go public with my own struggles with mental health and what I have gone through not only personally but also concerning health care.  While I have insurance that does cover it, my co-pay for my doctor visits is higher and the number of specialists to choose from is very low, so even though I am covered there is still a problem.  This cannot  continue if we plan to help those who need it most. 

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