Tag Archives: mental health resources

I took a big step, I called a Crisis Line

Yesterday I broke down.  My anxiety consumed me.  I tried to use my copings skills – I went out, went to Michaels – bought some more canvas and paint to come home and paint. I couldn’t handle it though.  “Hurt yourself.” “Cut yourself” “Hit yourself” “Break a bone” My brain kept wanting to find a way out of this feeling of extreme dread and torture that was going on. 

The minute I got home I knew I couldn’t do what my brain was saying. I had done that before. I did that for two years and all it did was get me put in the hospital, in the ICU, the ER, and the psych hospital.  I couldn’t go back to that.  I cant go back to that.  I am trying to stay in recovery.  I am trying to get my life back and stay on track.

I called 211.  It connected me to the local crisis line.  It is easier than dialing the suicide hotline, all I have to remember is 211 rather than a bunch of numbers, plus the suicide crisis line would connect me to 211 anyway, since it just connects you to your local crisis line.  For those of you who don’t know what 211 is – it is a free and confidential informational and referral line available in most cities/counties in the United States.  They can connect you with resources to find help with food, housing, employment, health care, counseling and more – and in my area also provide the crisis/suicide line. 

Anyway, I spent 33 minutes talking to a wonderful volunteer.  Probably 15 minutes crying my eyes out.  Eventually we came up with a plan, had some laughs, and I am feeling better.  Thank goodness I got my mind set straight because I do not want to end up back in the hospital!

I was assured I could call back as many times as I needed, 24 hours a day, and they could help me. 

Today was a rough day, and I suspect it is going to be a rough week.  Honestly, I think it is going to be a rough few months.  I don’t think my meds are working right, or not well enough anyway – perhaps a dosage adjustment.  I don’t think my doctor is getting my anxiety under control at all – at least not quick enough.  I know that I can’t give up though.  I know not to go back to my old habit – which was just not thinking and just doing.  I know I cant be impulsive anymore.  Not that it is that easy, impulse is impulse, but I can still keep working on it.

 

If you are in a crisis reach out for help:

National Suicide Prevention Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Lifeline Crisis Chat

IMAlive Crisis Chat

Veteran Crisis Online Chat

Call: 211

In the UK? Call the Samaritans: 08457 90 90 90

In Australia? Call Lifeline: 13 11 14  or chat with them

In New Zealand? Call Lifeline’s Warmline: 0508 927 654 or Suicide Crisis Line: 0508 828 865

Lack of Mental Health Resources

There is such a lack of mental health services and even if there are resources available access to them is quite hard.  For example, I live in a larger city (Tampa, FL), and there are quite a few psychiatrists and therapists around.  Many of them do not accept insurance at all (only self pay), many only take a few insurance plans, and those that do accept most insurance plans have long waiting periods to even get an appointment (3-6 months to get an intake).

What are you supposed to do when you need medication but you cannot get in to see your doctor?  Go to a hospital?  You aren’t suicidal and you don’t have insurance – but the only way to get your medication is by getting admitted to a psych hospital?  And in some areas, they do not even have enough psychiatric beds in hospitals even if you are suicidal, so they simply send you home when you are in danger (sadly, this does happen).

I was lucky enough to live in a town in Indiana for 6 years where I obtained great services.  I unfortunately was not functioning well enough to get much help from them, but they provided therapy 2x a week, case management 3x a week, psychiatry 1x a month, a clubhouse that was open 7:30am-3pm, and on call services 24 hours a day.  They had their own hospital affiliated with their clinic.  When I had insurance they accepted it.  When I didn’t have insurance they worked with me for a reduced rate ($11/apt).   This was completely unavailable when I moved to Florida though.  I left the state hospital in Indiana and moved to Florida with absolutely no services for the most part.  I had a 3 month wait for the psychiatrist (luckily it was set up while I was still in the hospital, but I still had 1 month after I moved here).  This office was horrible though.  My appointment would be at 1pm, but I wouldn’t see the psychiatrist til 5 or 6pm.  And this was a regular occurrence – I wouldn’t actually see the psychiatrist until 4-6 hours after my schedule appointment time.  I couldn’t handle it and finally scheduled an appointment with another psychiatrist, but it took a 3 month weight, and of course, this one didn’t take my insurance so I am self pay.

There are just far too few mental healthcare professionals today.  They are one of the lowest paid specialties in the medical field.  With the high cost of medical school, few people choose to go into the field.  In many areas, there are only private practices as well and not community mental health clinics.  Private practice clinics do not offer many of the services that a community mental health clinic can offer such as case managers, medication management, and most importantly a reduced/sliding scale fee that many people may need.

More attention needs to be focused on increasing resources geared towards mental health.  Not simply just creating awareness, but actually doing something about it.  Fixing the system.  Adding more healthcare providers.  Getting people more inspired to go into the field.  Adding more psychiatric nurse practioner programs to help aid reducing the time patients have to wait to see someone.  Increasing funding for hospitals so that patients are not turned away.  If someone goes to a hospital for help, they should not be told that they cannot get it.

This lack of mental health resources needs to be addressed.