Dear Everyone in the Mental Health Industry:
Do you have any idea how hard it is to get mental health care? I’m not talking about FUNDING it. I’m talking about GETTING it. At all.
I’ve had to track down therapy at least seven times in my life, and it’s always the same quagmire.
You guys have designed a system so complicated that a healthy, normal, energetic person cannot get through it to your therapists. At one place alone I’ve had to deal with a nasty intake secretary who sighed and said, “Can’t you just do the online intake form?” So on October 15th I did the online intake form. I was told that, I would receive a call back in five to seven business days.
On October 30th, far more than five to seven business days, I called back to find out what was going on. Oh, I was told, we’re not going to give him therapy. And you were going to tell me about this when? They weren’t. Dr. Idiot was supposed to call me instead about the social skills group, and he would tell me. I said, he hasn’t called me. Well, maybe someday, he would have. What about the psychopharmicologist? Oh, they said, the kid can’t have that unless he’s undergoing active therapy.
I repeated, and you weren’t going to tell me so I could track down another therapist, right? How am I supposed to know you’ve decided not to treat him unless you pick up the damned phone or your computer and tell me about it?
They fell back to their position that Dr. Idiot was supposed to have called.
My son has a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome. As part of his “treatment” he’s going to need a therapist, a social skills group, and a psychopharmicologist to maintain his medications. I can’t get ANY of these lined up! And I cannot start the medication until I get a psychopharmicologist.
The psychopharmicology place I called said they don’t actually do psychopharmicology, that this has to go through the pediatrician. The pediatrician’s office said they won’t touch psychopharmicology.
I’m a fairly healthy, somewhat normal person, and I cannot navigate this system! How is someone supposed to do this while battling thoughts of suicide or hearing voices or so anxious she can’t get out of bed in the morning?
So here’s an idea, jerks:
1) answer your phones
2) call back people when you say you will
3) don’t set up so many obstacles to treatment that the only people who can get it are people who didn’t need it in the first place
4) don’t leave ME, a healthy, normal person, crying in frustration because you guys cannot understand the difference between “we decided not to treat him” and “we told you we decided not to treat him.”
5) don’t act as though I’m the one who has a problem just because you’re the ones who don’t feel like doing your damn jobs
6) when I put on the intake form, “This child has threatened to kill me in my sleep, kill himself, and burn down the house,” that should indicate to you that perhaps — perhaps — the situation is serious enough that someone might want to consider treating the child.
I’m sure there are people in the mental health field who actually care about their patients, but the hundred or so I’ve encountered must just be so burnt out on it that they no longer care. And believe me, it shows.
As it is, right now my options are to start giving the kid prozac with no medical guidance (because I do have the prescription for it) and hope someone calls me back, or keep dealing with his rages and meltdowns over things like “I put the wrong meat in his sandwich.”
In closing, I wish you all a taste of your own medicine. I hope that someday, when you are in urgent need of some kind of service, you are redirected to an online intake form, no one returns your calls, people mock you when you call back, and doctors lose your number or simply don’t give a damn about your life. And then I hope you can try to continue conducting conversations with these smug phone voices without losing your temper. Remember me when that happens.
Go jump off a cliff Sincerely,