Today’s post is inspired by @jcss.c (insta)
I’ve spoken about funding for mental health systems here before, but I wanted to write a bit about what we want to fund. The mental health system as it is is flawed – I am certain of this – and while extra funding is needed and would help, it won’t fix everything. That is whey when I talk about improving the mental health system I use the word reform.
When we talk about funding the system we need to consider what we are funding. Do we want to pump money into a fundamentally broken system (because it’s been getting worse for quite a while) or do we want to use that money to reform the way the system works, promote independent person led treatment, and then provide resources to help make that happen?
Here’s some examples of areas that need to be changed:
- fatphobia within ED (eating disorder) treatment. That means not having to be under a certain weight to be validated, the mental side of an eating disorder taking precedent, and providing space for people who don’t fit the ‘typical’ ED profile you might expect
- Medical racism. This needs to be tackled at all levels and in all areas of society – they all influence each other
- Inability for medical practitioners to see individuals rather than symptoms. The individual patient matters; they should have a say in their own treatment; all of who they are should be recognised and celebrated. There’s a difference between having to tick boxes and refusing to see anything outside of those boxes
- Inappropriate medication/ sedation in inpatient. There should be more resources and a better system of action that doesn’t lead to drugs so quickly, especially if that is against the patient’s wishes
- Criminalisation & lack of human respect for people with substance use issues.
- Staff who always validate the experience of the patient, don’t rush patients through, tell them they’re not ‘bad enough’, aren’t rude, aren’t tired etc etc etc
- Voluntary treatment truly being voluntary. Rather than ‘admit yourself or we’ll section you’ (which happens far too much)
- Language changes. Being labelled as compliant or non-compliant, for example, and threatened with no help at all or penalties on freedom in inpatient, when in reality the reasons behind each person’s choice should be explored and respected. They should be helped to be motivated, and if the treatment isn’t working for them, there should be other options
- Space for alternative treatments. For example art therapy, drama therapy, animal therapy – just using other methods to get through to patients can be pivotal in their treatment. There should be the ability for this to happen on a wide scale
- Recognition of the wider factors impacting and maintaining mental health. Such as money, identity etc
There’s so much more I could discuss and it’s not like I’ve studied this for years, so this is just the opinion I have developed, but I know I am not alone in this. I’d also like to say that I respect any professionals that want to make a difference for someone struggling with their mental health, but I recognise that in such a strange system, it’s often hard for them to do so, and after time that motivation may just disappear.
If anyone wants to add anything, please comment below, would love to have a discussion on this topic.