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On seeking "professional" help...

Discussion in 'Rants, Musings and Ideas' started by RossInZona, Jan 3, 2012.

  1. RossInZona

    RossInZona Active Member

    While reading the threads in this forum, I notice that there are suggestions that people seek out professional help, a crisis hotline, local hospital, behavioral health agencies, etc.

    While I've worked in the fields of social services and education - and know full well that this is the "right" answer to give to someone who is in crisis - I sometimes wonder if it's truly the right decision and if it really leads to anything good.

    I've been to therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists several times over the course of my life. I've seen numerous changes in the behavioral health field since I saw my first psychologist at age 8 (on my mother's insistence) back in the early 1970s.

    Face it, a lot of professions have their share of clinkers, hucksters, and incompetents - and the mental health profession is no exception. I also know that social services agencies are strapped for cash and overloaded right now. People are put on waiting lists and have to wait months before they can actually see a psychiatrist, and even then, it's only through a closed-circuit TV monitor because the psychiatrist is in another city.

    There are plenty of private pay psychiatrists and psychologists for those who are able to afford them, but for those who can't, they just have to take whatever they can get - and it's really not much, when you really step back to take a look at it. Add that to the fact that most of these agencies are understaffed, underpaid, and have bigger and bigger caseloads.

    Even those who get into that field for the right reasons (and not all of them do), they're overworked and susceptible to burn-out. They just go through the motions, like on assembly line. Then there's the waiting...lots of sitting around and waiting with bunches of other people who are sitting there and waiting. Then there's the bureaucracy, the endless paperwork, having to explain your deepest personal problems to a fricken' clerk who is not a mental health professional before you can actually get to see someone, along with waiting and waiting and waiting. Lot of hoops to jump through. Oh, did I mention the long wait?

    So, when I read someone say "get professional help" to someone in serious crisis, it sounds like it's as simple as taking a walk in the park. It's not.
  2. Lizzy95

    Lizzy95 Member

    This is so very true, I've been lucky with my "professional help". I also find that it's too easy to trick them in cases that children are forced to go by their parents.
  3. metamorphosis17

    metamorphosis17 Well-Known Member

    Yes. Amen. Seconded. Thirded, whatever.

    I really agree with what you say here. It's not that simple.
  4. texaskitty

    texaskitty SF Cat Lady Staff Member Safety & Support SF Supporter

    Simple, no.

    I've noticed that getting good mental health care is difficult no matter where you are in the world.

    I have been through a few therapists before I found one that I clicked with.

    I think part of the problem (besides the beastly differently health care systems throughout the world) is that when you have a mental illness you aren't thinking very well and that makes it even more difficult to find good help.

    But finding good professional help can and is a lifesaver. It was for me. Although I am still struggling in areas, they help me a great deal. So I do encourage people to seek professional help.
  5. ZasuArt

    ZasuArt Well-Known Member

    I completely agree that finding the right professional therapist/psychiatrist/councellor is almost never as easy as picking up the phone, but I think that it's worth trying. I can honestly say that I wouldn't be here today without my therapist. I know that I was exceptionally lucky to find her more than 15 years ago (through a free councelling service for survivors of rape and child sexual abuse), and when she briefly stopped seeing individual clients to take a directors position at a women's shelter, her replacement was less than useless to me. I'm sure that there are times when the search is more trouble than it's worth, but I can't imagine having to go through my darkest days without my therapist.
  6. metamorphosis17

    metamorphosis17 Well-Known Member

    I don't want to be so dependent. I have been through so many therapists; some helped a bit. Some were technically "life-savers", but made no long-term impact in changing me.
    I've honestly found more use in books, creativity, and exercise than I ever have in a professional.
  7. dragonfly70

    dragonfly70 Well-Known Member

    It sounds like you've had a very difficult and frustrating time navigating your mental health system. I agree, it can be exhausting to get through the red tape to the help we need. And even though there are some bad apples in the basket, (and believe me, I've had my share of them too) there are good clinicians out there. Sometimes it just takes having that objective point of view presented, backed up with the tools to help you work through things. Sometimes it's having a place that will keep you safe while you go through a rough patch. Sometimes it's having the medication your brain needs because you have a physical, brain-based illness. For me it has been all three, and I've needed different things from each of them at different times of my life. But when someone comes and says they're going to end their life because they can't see a way out of the pain, then that's where I feel you need to begin to get the tools to survive it.
  8. total eclipse

    total eclipse SF Friend Staff Alumni

    When one is so low and in so much darkness then yes the first step is to pick up a phone that step gives them some kind of hope they have control and they are reachingout for help
    That step tells them they do not want death they want help they want the sadness pain to leave Oh god i know this mental health system can be so over bearing at times I too am a professional and i literally burnt myself out trying to get help for members of my family It only takes ONE caring professional i guess you have not found that one yet but after many years my twin did and she is healing and she is getting her life back because ONE doctor to her on and cared enought to help her fight