The availability of mental health care, including therapy services, hospitalization, and other types of treatment has significantly risen in recent decades, yet many parts of the world experience programs and institutions that cannot keep up with the demand for treatment, a situation that can often lead to tragedy. One such tragedy occurred for an Australian family over two years ago, as a man being transferred to a mental health crisis center after a medication overdose was held in waiting for over twenty hours. The man decided to end his life while waiting, an event which shocked and saddened his family and brought greater attention to local mental health issues. Yet in the years since the incident, note the parents in a recent article calling on the Australian government and other authorities to improve programs, measures to provide a larger number of beds at crisis centers and in emergency rooms have been lacking.
The couple describes advocating mental health services throughout their community, emailing local representatives and agencies, and becoming active in efforts to raise awareness about the difficulties faced by those with mental health needs. Nevertheless, scores of people continue to face considerable waiting times just to be seen by a professional or obtain a place to rest, which can sometimes contribute to a sense that services are unable to help, dealing a harsh blow to clients’ optimism and sense of the potential for recovery. Local mental health professionals, however, have noted the family’s strong role in encouraging measures to improve care, showing that even when action takes longer than desired, advocacy can be a powerful source of meaningful change in a field that is essential in the lives of millions of people.
© Copyright 2010 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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