Most of the trendy convo about mental health focuses on helping generally healthy folks deal with everyday stressors and sometimes folks with mild illness symptoms. It rarely talks about supporting folks with severe debilitating mental illness in a useful way except to share suicide hotline numbers. The thing is why let it get that bad? Why not help before someone gets suicidal? The same crowd also actively pill shames folks with mental illnesses. It’s all big pharma this, chemicals that… you need sunshine and yoga. Look here’s the thing, if I’m feeling too depressed to get out of bed…those things are utterly useless. You actually need to be a certain level of healthy to be able to exercise and eat right and all that.
I’ve been admitted to the psychiatric hospital a few times and in some cases the regular emergency room due to severe drug reactions and let me tell you, if I could find a pill that worked for me…I would take it in a heartbeat. And no one I’ve met in the hospital has been refusing meds because of big pharma and stuff coz guess what? Those meds can be life saving. Me, I opted to get my head zapped by magnets daily for 6 weeks to treat my OCD and depression. And i was also put into almost 2 months of daily therapy sessions for 5 hours a day. I was only able to do this while on medical leave which is incredibly disruptive re work and finances. I feel a lot better but if I could’ve taken a pill, that would’ve been amazing.
I’m even lucky that TMS worked for me, others have to resort to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) which has serious side effects but again life saving for many.
Anyway the point of all this was that the severely sick are mostly missing from the trendy mental health convos.
There is so so so much work to be done to improve mental healthcare in that regard that suicide hotlines just don’t cover. For example urgent care centers for mental health are extremely rare. Often you have no choice but to go to ER even if you’re not super sick and being admitted to the psychiatric unit means losing lots of privileges (Like access to your cell phone and often your clothes and sometimes shoes and many other things) and being in a locked facility that feels like being in jail. You wanna help folks with mental illness? build more urgent care centers, push for home visit medical teams for severely sick ppl unable to leave the house, push for more therapists to take insurance, push for research for better meds…but stop telling me to go eat healthy homemade meals unless you’re prepared to deliver me these yourself or go take a walk when my OCD literally has me terrified to be outside. That’s the equivalent of telling someone with a broken leg to go jogging to maintain health. Will get there eventually but first one needs to walk on crutches to get better.
Bonus: for actually useful self-care advice for folks with severe mental illness, check out this tumblr thread