4. Would you be confident that this mental health system would work well for you if you needed access to it? Provide reasons.
What I wrote:
I would be confident that if I called the AMHS triage line, I would receive good advice, and a referral if necessary. However, my own experience in the Victorian mental health system means I know it does not work for me. During my most acute episodes, I am more reasonable and articulate than I would be at any other time, and so am very capable of hiding any symptoms likely to betray a mental illness. In addition, when in crisis, I do not want intervention, so act accordingly. Thus, it is because of the way my illness works that I do not feel confident in the mental health system.
My concern about accessing services out of area is minimal; given the framework triage must follow, as presented in the Auditor General’s report. If immediate assistance is required, it must be given.
Department of Health Victoria, 2011. Adult Specialist Mental Health Services (16-64 years); Mercy Health, 2010. Mental Health Assessments [online] Available at <http://www.mercy.com.au/Hospital_Clinical_And_Mental_Health_Services/Our_Health_Services/L-N/Mental_Health_Assessments/> [Accessed 19 March 2011]
What I wanted to write:
Well, I've never really used the public system.
However, my experiences of the private system haven't been great. Confidentiality has previously not been explained in full, and I have ended up in worse situations due to 'duties of care'. My parent took quite some time to realise that not all psychologists will be useful to everyone, and given the 'need' for treatment was coming from them, this was an issue.
My confidence is psychologists is moderately low, given I have been able to 'get better'.
Diagnostic questions are easy to get around. "How do you feel about your body image?", for example.
After resisting medication for approximately 12 months, I had given up, so gave it a go. I have very few memories of the years I was on medication.
I was finally consulted about what kind of mental health professional I wanted to see, and ended up with a referral to my current practitioner. I have been working with her, largely successfully, for a number of years now.
When I felt I needed hospitalisation, it was denied, as it was considered my conditions would worsten.
My symptoms mean that when I am at my worst, I appear to be quite mentally healthy, if not happy. Unfortunately, at these times, I am also totally uninterested in receiving assistance, and so crisis assistance needs to be accessed before I reach crisis point.