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.