I don't know what it's like accessing mental health services in your area but if they are anything like where I am from then you are faced with months long wait times, shortage of mental health practitioners and when you do get it, it can take forever and a day to get enrolled into a mental health group setting and or workshops. Indeed, where I am from the entire healthcare system is in crisis. Everyone of these things can and do severely impact the mental wellness of those who are suffering.
What's worse, is that our inpatient, outpatient psychiatric care facilities are also suffering from the brutality of government budget cuts.These are the units that are suppose to assist those who are in a mental health crisis and are in danger of harming themselves. Yet there are not enough beds to help the influx of people in desperate need of emergency medical care. Sadly, people run the risk of being turned away.
To me, the very notion that one would be turned away because of what is essentially political deporitization is deplorable at best. So what's a person to do? One would rarely be turned down if one was having a heart attack, so are those who are in just as much of an emergency crisis be turned away??
Fortunately my mental illnesses have never induced enough pain that I needed emergency mental health care. I have had plenty of suicidal ideation for many years as well as a whole host of mental health symptoms that, over time, have worsened to the degree that I have had little choice but to seek the help of a mental health professional. I could no longer deny my pain because it was too intense to continue the facade, the lie that I masked with a smile and a cheerful disposition.
All that being said, if there was a pain scale for mental disorders, mine was at a near constant 8 and sometimes it's safe to say that at times it was even higher. I came to a juncture where I was so deflated, so weathered by the storm of my illnesses that I tossed stigma to the side and had enough of being held captive by PTSD, Anxiety and Depression. So I went for it. I requested a referral from my GP and was determined to wait it out. There were a few times over the years that the wait was lengthy and very frustrating.
Waiting in limbo can deflate any sense of courage you had mustered to make the referral in the first place. Still, knowing the that my situation was grave, I waited it out but I did not do so remaining idle.
Although medication has never been my personal favorite choice to help with my mental illnesses, I nonetheless was willing to try until I got into see some one. I recommend a trip to your doctor. Around the first time I was in dire need of medical treatment, I decided that I had to take charge of my health to bridge the gap till help was available. I adopted a healthy lifestyle, clean eating, exercise and to my amazement I was feeling better. I often refer to the two as mother nature's natural medication. These were the key elements that got me through until I landing in front of a trained mental health professional. Combining all three was a recipe for success. More on diet and exercise mental health, diet and exercise here.
So, although it may be a daunting task to have wait in limbo, mental health care is worth the wait. Too often the people I meet with tell that they have giving up and don't bother anymore. My question to them is; "What are you doing about your illness while you wait?" There are organizations out there like Sick Not Weak, a mental health advocacy group that are there to support people with mental illness. Take change of your health, maybe a long wait bur help down the road is better than no help at all. You got this!
~ Guest Blogger John - The Road To Mental Wellness
You may also like: Mental Health Crisis Angels, a peer support group. They put you in the hands of a couple of peer advocates set up to check on you. Kind of the support tag team needed to help those in crisis. You know, while you wait for your number to get picked and you’re lucky to get the support you need within 6 - 12 months. Other support networks are The Mighty, a large online peer support network. Another that I recently discovered is through a company called Slack. They provide an online secure workspace, and the peer support network there is confidential, run by like-minded people. Services are free to engage and you can interact on 18 percent, which is the number of Americans sick with mental illness. If you’re in any other part of the world, these numbers are equally staggering.
So Many Apps out there
What’s up: It starts off giving you statistics from the World Health Organization and to let you know, “You’re Not Alone,” which I think is nice. 400 to 500 million suffer from mental illness and it’s not just you. Such an amazing message. Then it asks you, “What’s up?” You can request Help Right Now, Coping Strategies, Information if you’re feeling angry, anxious, depressed, want to self harm or just stressed. There’s space for a personal diary. I’ve not perused it fully, but if you click on Help Right Now, you are prompted to Stop, Get Grounded, Breath, or weighs your Catastrophe to gain perspective on your situation. I feel like this is a nifty little app to have, but I’d get stressed out just knowing I had to log into it daily for support.
Talkspace Online Therapy: Get a licensed therapist online should you not be able to afford one. For ages 13 and up and they charge $49/week (billed monthly) instead of the weekly therapy sessions that could cost upwards of $150 per session. Unlimited messaging for teens 13-17, live video sessions can be added and can stop at any time. Should you not like your therapist, you can change to a new one.
Mood Kit: costs $4.99 just to download. It uses Cognitive Behavior Therapy, similar to What’s Up, but costs to download.
24 Hours a Day: Costs $5.99 to download and provides various meditations and quotes for the day. This app references biblical verses and God’s word in it’s messages.
Calm: Created by Apple is meditation and sleep stories, as well as breathing to help you relax. In app purchases are included.
Happify: Games that are supposed to elicit happy feelings and reduce stress. They also have a meditation section.
Pacifica: You can purchase on online therapist, but this has videos, meditation music and videos, a journal space, CBT and actually checks in with you every day. I like it, but it’s not practical for kids or someone on a budget. You can relax with the ocean waves and other nature sounds in guided muscle relaxation techniques. This has a community to check in with as well through chat.
Mood Journal: You sign in and pick a mood for the day with emoji’s. Next you can journal to keep track of your feelings and thoughts. The app let’s you “Let it Out,” by sharing with hashtags a post-it type of board on the app. Once you’re done, you can check in with others around the world an connect through liking, or using emojis to respond to their posts. I like this one for teens.
Stigma Free Me: I cannot read what people are saying about this app, but it’s listed a one to use to reduce the stigma. We use so many words that we shouldn’t and this is a good thing to have on your phone.