The mental health system is struggling under the burdens of understaffing, lack of facilities, and a broken model. What does this mean for those in crisis?
From painful experience, it means that even those in moderate to severe distress are sent home. Sent home to deal with the voices in their heads, the suicidal urges, the creeping loss of control, often alone and unsupported.
A suicide attempt is often sent home from the emergency department as soon as they’re stable enough, because ‘you’re not sick enough for the ward’. Presenting at the hospital before you get that far can result in many hours in a soothing blue room before being told there’s no space. Hearing voices telling you to kill can be dismissed as ‘not common with your diagnosis’. All because there is no space for any but the violently unwell.
It’s broken. It makes me sad. But more than that it makes me angry. We’re failing the vulnerable, and it’s slowly killing them.