One gigantic problem with the current mental health system

I read a post from a fellow blogger the other day that made me so livid I was shaking. When I was done I began to fire off a heated rebuttal. I was going expose this person. I was going to call this person out. The rebuttle was written and ready to publish.

Luckily, years ago I adopted the practice of never posting things like this until I let it sit for a day or two because I realized that this was not how I wanted to handle things. I don’t want to vilify or embarrass anyone, even if they kinda deserve it. When it comes to mental health, I want things to get better. That’s my only objective.

So, hereto is my revised version.

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The post in question was written by someone who identified herself as licensed psychologist as well as a “certified coach and trainer.” This is what made the post so alarming. I’m used to hearing a lot of bogus information about mental health in general, but from a licensed psychologist???

I know from my own experience, as well as hearing so many heartbreaking stories from other people, just how prevelent it is for mental health patients to be subjected to bad therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, etc. Only those who have experienced the expectation of seeking out help and then being let down will know exactly what I mean. It can be so disheartening.

To be fair, mental health professionals have a tough job and there are a handful who are awesome and work hard to do their best, but they are few and far between. Good psychologists usually have long waiting lists and are also often quite expensive. The only good psychologist I had was while I was in college. When I graduated I couldn’t see him anymore as I was not a student.

The vast majority, in my opinion, are either not sufficiently trained or they just don’t seem to really care that much. It’s just a paycheck for them.

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Anywho, on to the post. I’m going to go through several points that I wish to make in rubuttal to the article I’m choosing not to identify.

1. First, never assume your audience is stupid – There is a logical fallacy I’m sure most of us have heard of called Straw Man. Accusing people of, say, “black and white” thinking in the first sentence is a great example of this. Bad idea.

2. Medication – One of the main arguments of the post is to advise people against the use of medication. To me this is so very dangerous. The pharmaceutical industry is far from perfect. I think we can all acknowledge that. However, in many cases, including my own, medication has made a monumental difference. Finding the right medication has literally saved me from a life of complete misery. I don’t let anyone make me feel guilty for that.

3. Playing the victim and attention seeking – I really hate it when people accuse mental health patients of “playing the victim” and it gets said a lot. We are people with serious and legitimate health conditions that require treatment. Often our symptoms cause us a tremendous amount of pain, both phyiscally and mentally. Would you accuse someone with a broken leg or a heart condition of simply “acting like a victim”?

I would also NEVER accuse a mental health patient of being merely an attention seeker. That made my jaw drop to the floor when I read it (still trying to pick it up. Good thing I’m typing.) Then again there actually are conditions that do descibe such people. I would think that any psychologist would know about things like hypochodria, narcissistic personality and anti-social personality, all of which are considered mental health disorders.

4. Mental health disorders as “labels – This is another thing that gets said often that I really hate and wish would stop, like, yesterday. A mental health disorder is NOT a label. All a diagnosis really means is that the symptoms you have were found to be similar to the symptoms of other people. Those symptoms have been grouped together and given a name. We have to call it something, don’t we?

When a mental health disorder is identified, it can be an essential step toward healing and recoveryIs the current system perfect? Heck no. The system needs a whole lot of improvement, but at least we are headed in a forward direction. I don’t want to “be cavemen again…” or a cavewoman. I’ve gotten too used to having things like refrigerators and indoor flush toilets. I also do not want to wind time back to a century ago when mental health patients would often be dropped off at a facility on a hill and forgotten. Remember the story of Nellie Bly?

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5. Blaming the patient for their own failed recovery – This really made me want to scream, yet I am all about maintaining decorum as much as possible. Are you seriously blaming the patient for their own failed recovery??? Really??? Did I read that right??? Do you really believe that patients just blindly do not want to change? Does the person who wrote this post really have a PhD? Then again, I’ve met so many health professionals that seemed to think just the same. I suppose it shouldn’t be surprising at all.

6. Mental health patients can simply think their way out of their condition, if they chose to – This made me laugh out loud it’s so preposterous. Do you really think that people want to feel like sh*t? This is what differentiates a mental health disorder from just having a bad day.

To be fair there are several things about the article that I agree with. We should all do as much as possible to assist in our own healing process by meditating as well as “getting sunshine… taking a walk in the woods… and daring to dream.” (Yes, the writer really says this.) But wait wait, do you mean to say that I could have simply dreamt my way out of borderline personality disorder all those years, or just taken a nice walk in the woods? Wow! No no, I’d much rather live in pain and agony. Yeah!

The writer also makes the valid point that when it comes to health care we should not always blindly follow the people who “wear white coats.” We all need to be our own best advocates and trust our own intuitions more. I couldn’t agree more.

As I’ve already said, the system is not perfect, but it’s not hopelessly broken eaither. The only effective change is trying, as much as possible, to work within the system to improve it rather than merely trash it. The latter is far easier to do though isn’t it?

The truly unfortunate thing is that I’ve met so many therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists who seem to think just like this writer. I want that to change, like, yesterday.

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36 comments

  1. The mental health community still has a long way to go, unfortunately. It is so difficult to go through the maze and find doctors and therapists who don’t share the views of the article’s author you are rebutting. Very good post, thank you!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Many years ago, we had a room mate that was studying to be a therapist. My husband escorted her to a class party and got to meet the rest of her class as they all got very, very drunk (yes, he made sure our room mate got home safely – except for the overhanging tree branch she walked into). One of the things that became very, very clear is that every one of these therapy students needed therapy, themselves!

    Sadly, the field of psychology – one I have enjoyed for years and seriously considered going into as a career – is easily manipulated and swayed by social engineering and agendas. I recall talking to a friend and fellow home schooling mom who studying for her psychology exam. The hardest thing for her was knowing she had to give “correct” answers, she knew to be wrong. One of the things psychology students were taught about children was that girls should only play with “girl” toys, and boys should only play with “boy” toys – unless they were gay. Then it was okay for boys to play with girl toys and vice versa. ????

    Of course, today, they would be saying kids who like playing with non-stereotypical toys are trans instead of gay. :-/

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Wow. I hear a lot of people say they went into psychology in order to “figure themselves out.” That’s cool, but I wonder if they really think about what they’re getting into.

    Also, I took a psychology class in college and was hugely dissappointed because all they mostly discussed was the history of psychology from 100 years ago. I don’t think I learned much about where psychology is now or anything applicable to apply to any current situation. I learned more from reading a lot of good books on psychology and also reading people’s stories.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Excellent post, JoAnn! 🙂
    Wow, you have got me so curious as to who this person is!
    And, I just want to share that I’ve also had an unfortunate experience with an “alternative” healer who did not at all understand trauma and how to work with it. After the session I was so angry and actually set back in my healing for a while. I learned a very valuable lesson, which also applies to working with psychotherapists: always make sure that they have A LOT of training and understanding, as well as EXPERIENCE working with your particular issues. And, as you said, that is often hard to find because the good ones are very expensive, don’t take your insurance, and/or have waiting lists or closed practices…
    Thank you again for this great post. ❤

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you so much for sharing. I used to think that maybe there was something wrong with me and that I was beyond help or something. When I started to see how many people had similar experiences it really broke my heart but it also made me feel a little better to know that it probably wasn’t just me.

      Like

  5. Very comprehensive post.

    My opinion of most mental health professionals? Based on years of experience in the treatment system.

    They should first heal thyself.

    To loosely quote Voltaire:

    Doctor’s know little about the drugs they prescribe…

    Less about the patients they prescribe them to…

    And little to nothing about the illnesses they are treating them for!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I got really lucky and hit the psychiatrist/therapist jackpot! They work together and are amazing. Sadly, I know I got lucky and that’s so unfortunate because you are so accurate in how important it is to someone’s life to get proper treatment! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 4 people

  7. There are so many gaps in our system, and I have to say, I loved this post. Research shows that in any therapy, the number one most important thing to ensure success is a good therapist/patient relationship.

    I also like your bit on labels, but I would add a nuance! Mental illness is oft romanticized in our society, and people begin to identify with an illness, and define themselves by the illness. The “13 Reasons Why” fiasco a good example. The media is teaching kids that mental illness is sexy and that leads to all sorts of problems.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. I’m reading this post as I listen to my son yelling at the voices he hears in his head. If only he could think his way out of paranoid schizophrenia. He takes an anti-psychotic injection once a month, and we’ve tried so many medications. Thanks for your post.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. You’ll probably get more people reading this over here then as a comment, though you can always link the poster to this (which probably wouldn’t change anything).
    I was at first gonna agree with some of what you wrote but then ended up agreeing with it all.
    Love, light and glitter

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Oh, I wish I’d written this…

    One of the things I tell my friends who are saying “Well, I tried therapy, or medication – it didn’t work out for me.” is that you interview the therapists, the psychiatrists and so on. They work for YOU. If you don’t feel comfortable with a therapist, then by all that’s holy, go to the next one, and the next one, until you find someone who is willing to help you walk over the emotional coals. Same thing with medications – I finally got to the point of having a DNA test run which indicated that most medications were “unlikely” to work for me. This, after years of medication roulette! For me, the best mood stabilizer is an anti seizure!

    Mental health is as much, if not more, work than getting “swole” or having that bikini bod. I wish more people respected that.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Meaningful and sensible essay on the subject. I just did not understand your issue with “but from a licensed .psychologist???” They would have to have a license and certification to be in practice and certain degrees in the field to have academic credentials for writing in the field plus usually 2000 hour internship in mental health. Thanks for dropping by my cartoon blog.

    Liked by 3 people

    • That was my point. After all that training she didn’t seem to have a real understanding of mental health disorders and how they work… unfortunately this seems to be a common problem.

      Like

    • Wow, very interesting article. I was especially surprised to see how mental health issues have become rampant throughout the world. I wasn’t aware of that.
      Many of the other things you mentioned was like you were reading my mind. 🌷
      Well, it just goes to show how much needs to change to in order to address this issue. It’s becoming an epidemic.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Hi JoAnn. I’m not a therapist, but an Assistant Psychologist and I thought your article was inspiring. I sympathise with any person looking for help who is viewed in this light. I especially liked what you said about the system and effective change. I totally agree.

    Liked by 3 people

      • I focus mainly on public consultation for a company called Denver Arc. We have developed an online diagnostic tool and sign-poster for mental health, which will allow a lot more choice and a faster service for people needing a mental health assessment. Just set up a company blog so its a little sparse, but have a look if you like. https://denverarcmental.health.blog

        Liked by 2 people

      • Hmm, would be interested in seeing how well this works. I’ve thought that we need something similar to this. Let me know if I can be of any help.
        Also, if it’s ok with you I would like to reblog your post about curing pain through hypnonsis.

        Liked by 2 people

  13. Yes please do and thank you for offering to help. I’m new to blogging so a bit of a blog numpty i’m afraid, but I really want to get more involved in the mental health community. I think it’s brilliant that people find the courage to speak out. Far more educational than a psychology masters.

    Liked by 2 people

    • So true! We can learn all we can in a educational program, but getting out into the “real world” is always vastly different than what we expect! Far more difficult in many ways, also.

      Liked by 1 person

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