Firstly, I realise that I’m a day late with thankful thursday this week.
I’ve been sick, and uni is in full swing and…I forgot. Oops!
This weeks topic is close to my heart, and it’s also something that matters to a lot of people I know: Mental Healthcare. One of my favourite blogging sites, Kiki & Tea, regularly publishes articles that relate to mental health and mental illness. In fact, this week they published two pieces, which you can find here and here, that deal with the two different sides of the same coin.
So why mental healthcare?
I’m glad you asked the question!
If you’ve been following my blogging adventures for some time, or you know me IRL, then you’d be very aware that I’m a huge advocate for better mental health care access in Australia. In a way, it’s a selfish undertaking. For the past 10 years, I’ve been in various stages of mental illness. I have had diagnoses of Binge/Restrict Bulimia Nervosa, various types of Depression, Generalised Anxiety Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and I’m in various stages of recovery from each of these.
I’m lucky that my family has private health insurance, and enough money to cover to the gap for me to visit psychologists and private therapists over the years, as well as a trip to a private rehabilitation facility. The government currently only provides an 80% rebate on the schedule fee for 10 psychologist visits in a calendar year – most practitioners charge more, and most clients need more sessions. So I’m thankful that we can afford for me to do therapy on and off for 10 years. I am so much healthier for it.
I’m also thankful for the public system. It has it’s many faults, but the adolescent ward I was placed in during August/September 2006 was very well run. It was the first social group that I didn’t feel like an outcast, and they were really the first group of professionals who didn’t treat me like I somehow defective. The teachers and the psychologists and the nurses all fought for my rights at school, and give me the first steps to being able to stick up for myself. They didn’t treat me, or any of the other 11 patients, like we were children. They helped us to understand our rights and instilled in us a sense that one day, it would be better.
So with all the issues that exist in mental healthcare in Australia, I’m glad I live here. Though waiting lists are long, and private therapists expensive, it is still so much easier to access mental health care here than a lot of other countries in the world. Without the services we have, that I have been able to access, staffed by incredibly well trained professionals, I would probably not be here today. So I am thankful for mental healthcare in Australia, while hoping that it will improve even more.