It's hard to meet the needs of those impacted by this disorder when too many education programs fall short of equipping professionals and the public.
I want my daughter's best interests to be represented by the numerous disability rights organizations that have appeared in recent years. Sadly, these organizations, like the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, too often promote policies that pose real dangers to her. It's important to understand why a group like this would decide to hold these positions.
We hear about horrific situations in Canada when interactions between mentally unstable people and law enforcement lead to tragic outcomes. Less well known are the longtime efforts of the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) to meet the needs of the 30% of their calls that deal with mental illness. While applauding the efforts of police to adapt, shouldn't we also be looking more closely at policies that are creating the chaos of so much untreated mental illness?
A growing trend in the delivery of mental health services is the use of peer support workers. Peers, who have themselves experienced some kind of mental illness, can help meet some of the many needs that people with the most severe mental illnesses have. However, various ideological agendas have led the internationally powerful peer support movement in questionable directions.
Families are being encouraged through groups like HVM to think of auditory hallucinations, delusions, disorganized thinking, impaired functioning and other symptoms of severe mental illnesses as just part of the human condition, not medical problems.
It's easy to think that if we just put more money into some kind of mental health services we could solve the problem. This belief prevents us from understanding the other complicated forces at work that keep some people trapped in severe mental illnesses.
The VPD reports that 1 in 5 of the calls they respond to involve mental illness. Among the five recommendations that could reduce this inappropriate police involvement is the development an urgent care centre in Vancouver that will be staffed by psychiatrists. Anyone who has waited many hours in a crowded ER with a very psychotic person knows that this makes sense.
Please, someone, make choices for me when I cannot: choose to give me the treatment that, for me, has worked in the past. Medicate me. Don't leave me to myself; I will play with those knives, and may not learn until I bleed to death what harm I have the "right" to do.
Advertisements and billboards around Canada are encouraging us to discuss mental health problems as part of Bell's "Let's Talk" campaign on Feb. 12. However, those of us who wish Canadians could finally receive much needed public education about psychotic disorders are disappointed. Canada is fortunate to have quite a few early psychosis intervention programs. But given the poor state of knowledge about both the early signs and the existence of programs, too many families aren't getting the knowledge they need. These are major public health problems. Let's talk about them.
Caring for a family member with a serious mental illness (mainly schizophrenia and bipolar disorder) is often extremely stressful