Navigating the mental health system can be a daunting task, especially as it is currently under a significant amount of strain. Accessing the right support can be challenging due to a range of factors. To offer help with maneuvering through the mental health system, we’re gonna walk through the practical side of things and then share some available resources.
First, to better understand the current state of the mental health system, it is essential to take a brief look at its history. In the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, the mental health system was known for asylums and sanitariums, where people with chronic mental illness were housed. During this time, psychotherapy and psychoanalysis were commonly used, and patients would stay in hospitals for months while doctors tried to figure out the best way to help them. However, the economics of the time were different, and funding for mental health care was more accessible.
In the 80s and 90s, things changed, and the health insurance industry exploded, leading to the emergence of managed care. However, health insurance policies followed the government’s footsteps and began to prioritize paying for procedures more than non-procedures. This means that medical procedures like surgery started to be valued higher than talking therapy, which involves no cutting or inserting of objects. This financial incentive led to fewer people going into the talking side of medical care like psychiatry, pediatrics, and family medicine, resulting in a shortage of mental health professionals. Additionally, the cost of training and becoming a mental health professional is high, which causes further shortages.
To navigate the mental health system, it’s crucial to recognize that there is a scarcity of mental health professionals. Though not always an option, exercise patience when you can as you navigate within a very stretched system. Championing the mental health professionals you do know is beyond appreciated. Remember, they are the best resource to help maneuver the mental health system. They’re seasoned professionals after all!
So, one way to find help is to ask other professionals in the field or contact a therapist directly. However, the mental health system’s communication infrastructure is not as organized and defined as other healthcare systems, making it challenging to access help. Using the Internet to look for therapists is also an option, but it’s important to keep in mind that Google is a money-making machine and may not necessarily lead to the best or most accessible care.
It is also essential to remember that mental health care is not one-size-fits-all. Finding the right therapist or mental health clinician might take some time and several attempts. Patients should advocate for themselves, ask questions, and communicate their needs to their mental health professionals. You are an expert in yourself. It also really helps to be open to different treatment options and be willing to try new things.
Maneuvering through the mental health system can be challenging due to various factors, including a shortage of mental health professionals, a lack of structured communication infrastructure, and the high cost of becoming a mental health professional. However, individuals can find the help they need by reaching out to therapists directly, asking for referrals, and being patient and open-minded about treatment options. It’s essential to prioritize your mental health and seek the help you need to live a healthy and fulfilling life. Don’t hesitate; reach out as soon as you feel like you need to.