Health care and awareness, heck even empathy for mental illness is severely lacking. We have an issue on hand, an issue that’s glaring obvious won’t go away by turning our heads.
This is why we need organizations and causes like Stigma Fighters. Our voices need to be heard, we need to reach out and grasp each others hands and pull one another out of the dark hole of mental illness. We need more doctors and health care professionals to care about mental health, about helping patients get better…or at least functioning.
Two years ago, I approached our family doctor and finally broke my vow of silence. I told her what was going on in my life, how I felt, and that it needed to change. She agreed with me – it did need to change, but all she could do for me was refer me to a psychologist and give me antidepressants that I didn’t want to go on until I had talked to a psychologist. I am wary of drugs – pain killers, antidepressants, my body doesn’t seem to be able to handle them properly and therefore I want to avoid them if possible.
This was two years ago…and I still haven’t seen the psychologist. And not for lack of trying. I have been to see my doctor several times since, and she’s straight up told me…unless I go to a private psychologist and pay a hefty fine by the hour, my wait to see one covered by OHIP is going to be tremendously long. She told me it’s because doctors get paid by the patient, and when you focus on mental illness you can’t pack as many patients into your day so your pay takes a massive nose dive and not many doctors will focus on mental illness, unless they charge an arm and a leg.
The government doesn’t seem recognize the importance of mental health. Getting help is like jumping threw so many hoops and all while blind, surrounded by darkness. It’s so easy for a family doctor to prescribe antidepressants yet it’s almost impossible to get that same patient a psychologist, especially when they can’t afford one on their own. Pregnant women and teens take priority, which is understandable….sort of. Nobody deserves to walk alone in this, and everyone is deserving of the same kind of help.
My friend Sarah Fader started Stigma Fighters to get the conversation on mental illness started, to give people with mental illnesses a voice and a platform to share their stories and discuss why we need to change society’s view on mental illness and the health care systems access to care.
Let’s help Stigma Fighters become a 501C3 organization. Donate today so Sarah can take the platform of Stigma Fighters to schools and colleges across the country, giving voices to those who need it. This is the first step of a much needed change in how society views mental illness.
We won’t see a change unless we are the change.