Cuts to Mental Health Services – Risky Business
With more mental health awareness comes more education. In an ideal world this should translate into more accessibility to more services. Canada prides itself on being a country with supposed universal access to healthcare. We are lucky here to have it. No argument there. Canadians do pay for those and other services through remittance of some of the highest taxes among all of the G7 nations. Again, there is no intended argument here. We want our tax dollars going to essential services like health.
There is a storm cloud hovering over many places such as my hometown of New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. The mental health unit closed at the local hospital last summer. It was a relatively small eight bed unit that served the county reasonably well. Staffing shortages were blamed. Nearly one year later and the mental health unit is still closed. Stories have made their way through of patients being assessed through the hospital’s emergency room department with very mixed results.
Loved ones who have had people admitted for treatment have seen their family members be shipped off to hospitals that are up to a five hour drive away. This kind of burden seems like risky business. Maybe they are getting treatment that they need, but what about having family support right there in person when they need it? Sure, technology can and has brought people closer together. Surely family members would rather visit their loved ones in person instead of having a bedside session of Skype.
There are other areas of Canada where cuts to mental health services have affected hospitals and the populations they are to serve. Small town and big city health care facilities feel the pressure. It’s happening in America and Britain as well. Chicago Illinois is still reeling from the 2012 closure of half of the clinics it once boasted. To think of the lives put at risk by these closures. You have to wonder where do people turn for help?
Indeed. Where do people turn for help when service cuts are put in place? Health is risky business. No system is perfect. Most would agree that a system does need to have resources in place to help those who need it.
Dann Alexander is a Freelance Writer based in Nova Scotia Canada. He is the Author of “Planned UnParenthood – Creating a Life Without Procreating” Available almost anywhere online where books are sold.