Updated: Nov 5, 2020
The purpose of this post is not to replace sound mental health advice for threatening or life-threatening problems. But I would be remiss in my work if I were to omit the things I have learned and practiced over the years, which have helped many young people survive and safely navigate the maze that is life, allowing them to not only be happy but healthy as well.
On the other side of the coin, I have also been exposed to way too many youths who are self abusive, self harming, suicidal and who eventually end up in the system with little hope; all have spent years in the mental health system to no avail and I would argue are even worse off than they began and often on the worst meds imaginable. Contrary to popular opinion, mental health has not come so far over the years. The truth is, it is failing too many; more than ever before and sadly, with new laws, it has taken self empowerment and crushed it into oblivion, leaving a terrible mess in its wake.
This post is not about serious, pre-existing mental disturbances but time has shown that quite often we can make sense of a situation, allowing the sufferer to avoid the worst through sheer neglect and mismanagement. Hearing a young person say that while their life is a mess, and the resulting side effects have all but destroyed their lives, they know they must be on this treatment for acceptance is heartbreaking, and often unnecessary.
I don't expect to gain many friends in the field once they have read this. The fact remains; way too many people are being treated as mental health cases when they began with nothing more than a basic nutritional, chemical, enzyme or hormone imbalance, or have suffered reactions to medications which all carry the side effects of anxiety, depression and various mental issues. Both personally and professionally I've experienced a very substantial exposure to this phenomenon. And I have witnessed very real and valid results from proper management.
There is a lot more to the situation than just giving a pill or having occasional counselling, but this is the abysmal way such a case is handled professionally. Psychiatric care is amongst the most egotistical and untouchable field in health care. I have been present when patients have had shock treatment. I've been present when suicide attempts almost claimed a life. I've had to be present after suicide and in dealing with the catastrophic repercussions of a senseless death and its impact on the bereaved family and loved ones. And I've witnessed destruction of any hope of a future for too many promising young people.