Prompting another post about mental health awareness and suicide prevention, was the loss of Chester Bennington of my favorite band Linkin Park. I was devastated by this news. Such a talented young man at the height of his career, gone in an instant. It serves to tell us once again, that mental health issues do not discriminate.
Whether you have childhood traumas, chemical imbalances in your brain, chronic stress, an addiction, going through a rough time, dealing with loss, have anxiety and/or depression, or the many other mental health disorders, mental health care has never been so important. It is easy to tell those suffering to “get help”. It is a whole other ballgame to get help when you are in the throes of depression.
We not only need mental health care for EVERYONE but it should also be readily accessible with experienced professionals. It should not be $150 a visit (b/c they only take BCBS-and there’s only 1 specialist in your state!), and you should have an ample selection to choose from. No more of this closed panel or 2 yr pending statuses with Drs trying to get in-network. Also, there should be a reasonable limit on visits, based on your doctor’s discretion. It often takes 3 “getting to know you” visits and at least 5 to start really tackling whatever is going on.
I cannot tell you the hurdles it often takes just to get an appointment to see a therapist. You’ve finally made up your mind that you need to talk to someone. You go online to look at in-network providers. You get a list of 20 from the insurance company. Six are men. You want a female. Two no longer take your insurance. Oopsie on the insurance company’s part. Five aren’t taking new patients. Five are booked solid for the next 2 months. One isn’t a psychologist and you’ve tried social workers in the past with little luck. One left. You finally get a slot a month from now. And it took 3 days to stop playing phone tag. You see her and you just don’t click with her. It happens. And it’s so important that you click. Then you begin the process all over again. There are also many doctors, in general, whose office hours are 10-4, 9-5, 11-5 so if you work, getting an hour+ off of work once a week isn’t viable.
If you are someone who is in dire need of help, this can be a truly overwhelming, exhausting and disheartening process. I would not be surprised if people gave up after the first couple calls.
Having said all that, please do not get discouraged if you do want professional help. You will get that appointment, you will find a therapist you love and begin the process of healing.
If you need to talk to someone immediately, never hesitate to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. They also offer an online chat option.