Government turning a blind eye to our mental health?

by S.Abate on January 24, 2014 - 2:26pm

Original article from The Gazette:


The Canadian military and political leaders have recently been receiving an alarming wave of criticism on their mental health care system for their soldiers and veterans, with the number of suicides tragically increasing. It was announced on January 3rd, 2014 that Cpl. Adam Eckhart of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry took his own life. Eckhart’s death was announced just one day after another unfortunate suicide, 51-year old Calgary veteran Leona MacEachern. Tom MacEachren, Leona’s husband quoted “We would like to say Leona slipped through the cracks in the system, but in fact there doesn't appear to be a system.” Opposition veterans affairs critic Peter Stoffer is arguing that the military should be immediately investigating these suicides to prevent them from happening again, and starting a program where veterans with history of mental health issues can get treatment after they’ve resigned from service. The Government’s response to this shows some form of concern and promise to take action, but not following through by blaming their budget. Not only is there not enough attention focused on peoples’ mental health, but the system and program we have is not sufficient or “deep” enough. Patients speak to psychiatrists and therapists where they are evaluated by answering a survey of questions, and are prescribed pills for artificial comfort and temporary happiness. This is all psychiatrists know how to do, they are trained solely to diagnose and prescribe medication; they are not skilled to understand and accept these patients. These patients are told that they have a problem, and that it needs to be fixed, rather than recognizing the fact that, yes, they have issues, but telling them that it’s okay to have them. The system neglects to remind humans that they are only human. Leading to patients depending on these pills for their well-being, resulting in not being able to function without it or a possible overdose. This is why there needs to be drastic changes in our mental health care needs system. The mental health of the people in our society should be one of the most important things to our government. 


Mental health issues are a silent killer in our society, leaving the people plagued by it with sometimes very little resources, professional or otherwise. It’s a sad trend to see that many veterans of both the American and Canadian military are experiencing severe cases of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and it is unfortunately something that is not given enough attention in the media, which is why this post is definitely welcome. As you stated, we live in a world where problems are simply treated by signing out leaflets for prescription medication. Patients are sometimes left battling their demons on their own, and walk the fine line between becoming mentally debilitated or worse.

I agree that our system is in shambles, due to the fact that there doesn’t seem to be any working system in the first place. We need to accredit more importance to the treatment of mental health patients, whether they are servicemen and women or civilians like us.
I’ve personally seen the affects of depression on loved ones, and it is very real. I’ve seen the people I care about toil around in their homes, with their medication at hand, waiting for it all to stop. Mental health issues can consume and turn someone into either a shadow of themselves, or their very own antithesis.

We need to ask more of our government on this issue and get them to act.

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