The Broken System, part 4: You’re Not Sick Enough

Parts one, two, and three.

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.


6 thoughts on “The Broken System, part 4: You’re Not Sick Enough

  1. Pingback: The broken system, part 1: Understaffed and overworked | Drop Bear Exterminator

  2. Pingback: The Broken System, part 2: Continuity of care | Drop Bear Exterminator

  3. Pingback: The Broken System, part 3: the Community Model | Drop Bear Exterminator

  4. aviets

    Just found this series of blogs – very interesting. We have very similar problems in the US. The main difference is that the mentally ill get the same rotten care but have to have someone in their family go bankrupt in order to pay for it. Seriously. It makes me furious that the world tries so hard to shove mental health care under a rug.

    1. judithfursdon Post author

      The only time mental health gets a look-in is when someone starts killing people – then there’s a whole lot of hand-wringing about ‘the need for better mental health care’ . . . until it becomes yesterday’s news again. It forgets those of us who live with mental health issues every day. At least my personal hell isn’t attached to a massive bill yet.


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