Saturday, May 18, 2013

Mental Health

    Mental health has a long and sorry past. Some things are better today and some things are probably worse. We have some medications that work to some extent. We have better diagnoses. Much has been learned about mental health. Treatment centers have all but disappeared. There are few treatment facilities and little funding. There has been some improvement in public perception of mental illness but it still has a long way to go.

    Why am I on this topic? Today I met a man on the bike trail. I could hear loud talking from more than 200 m away. I couldn't even tell who was talking. Then I thought he must be talking on a cell phone. No. He was talking to himself in a very loud voice about a number of unrelated topics. He was raving about having to pay money for a book to find Jesus. I thought he would stop talking when he got to me. He kept on talking and went by me as if I wasn't there. It was a sad sight. I wondered why he was on his own. Obviously he was off his meds. I'm sure he would frighten some people while others may harass him. 

    I taught about 4000 students in this community. A young man who was easily in the top 100 brightest of all students I taught is unemployed and on disability. It's sad to think of how much this fellow could have achieved if schizophrenia had not disabled him.

    Many people do not want to take their medications. I take a mediation for  seizures. It is also used to treat schizophrenia and bi polar disorder. It's not a pleasant medication to take as it has side effects. I get depressed from time to time. I also have problems with balance. I also think that my thinking gets fuzzy at times. So I understand that people do not want to take medication. 

    There are some support groups for mental health but not enough.

   We are also far under diagnosed in the mental health field. We had kids who were lashing out at things around them. Many suffered anxiety but it was never diagnosed or treated. So parents teachers and other kids received abuse that was very unpleasant to deal with. For many of these kids , if they had been diagnosed and treated , they would have been much happier and more successful. Many adults suffer from depression and do not realize it or won't admit it. 

    There is treatment for most mental health issues. Community support is crucial in bringing about better mental health. 

     One of our readers and commenters is going through a few bumps in the road. He has recognized and admitted a problem. He has begun treatment to regain good mental health. It's not easy when you think that some of the world turns against you and that you had some responsibility for that problem. He's working to regain good mental health. I wish him success.