Friday, 24 January 2014

Let's not talk. Let do something about mental illness in Canada

On January 28th, Bell Canada has invited us all to talk about mental illness.
Why wait four days?
Let's talk now.
I'm sorry Ma Bell, but as I don't own one of your phones, I can't text on one, and therefore, I can't donate five cents for every text I send to the cause of fighting mental illness. Also can't contribute to your bottom line. Sorry.
So I'll talk here, in this forum.

First, let's start with your commercials.
How much research went into your commercials because they are completely bogus. The first scenario, above, would never happen.
First, that guy doesn't look depressed exactly. He looks like he might have lost his keys and is trying to make a mental note as to how to find them. Or maybe he missed his hockey game cause he slept in.
In any event, if he were in a state of depression, he would not be sitting in front of a window with the blinds up with phone in front of him. He would be in bed, in the dark, so no one would know he was writhing in a pit of despair which he clearly is not.
Secondly, his buddy would not be at the door ringing the bell, wondering why the guy is sitting in front of an open window. The friend would have called FIRST, or TEXTED. (Hey, Bell! Why not bring your commercial in line with your message!)
If the friend did see his buddy sitting there in an open window, he wouldn't be ringing the bell, he would be BANGING ON THE DOOR. (He's not the UPS guy.) And he might have tried the door, which was probably open because when you're depressed you don't give a shit about locking the door.
Finally, if the guy were truly depressed, he'd have his phone OFF.
Next commercial please.

If this girl were calling in depressed or sad, she wouldn't have gotten up, put on her makeup and cleaned the kitchen.
She would be sitting on the toilet, her hair all akimbo. Or she'd still be in bed with a bottle of pills or hooch. Her house would be a mess.
By the looks of her, she's a buttoned down sort of gal who would be in the office making everybody else depressed and not giving a shit whether they were sad, or suicidal or worse.
She would be a manager.
As my husband would say: As a manager, she doesn't have stress, she is a carrier.

My point with all of this is that Bell Canada spent too much time and money on commercials and not enough time doing research. There is already lots of awareness around mental illness. Too bad service delivery sucks.
I know a guy who tried to kill himself a few weeks back. The cops came. Took him to the hospital after an unsuccessful event. He spent the night in the hospital and the next day they let him go because he said he was better.
Pardon me for suggesting that if the cops had to bring him in he's got problems and should be assessed. Instead, he's back in the arms of his family scaring his wife and kids. Hope he doesn't have a firearm.
Thousands of Canadians have brushes with the mental health system and they can't get help.
I spent one night on suicide watch with one of my kids at the children's hospital. Nobody talked to us. I actually had to phone up to psychiatry to get somebody to come down and talk to us. I was given no advice about how to help my kid. Not even a pamphlet.
I had a friend who went to a local women's treatment centre for help with her alcoholism and they sent her home saying her problem wasn't bad enough. She died two years ago of cirrhosis of the liver.
I have another elderly friend who is a hoarder, a dangerous one, who has landed in the hospital three times with broken bones from falling on all her crap. She's probably sitting in her apartment as we speak with her dying husband and a bottle of vodka. I can't get her help. I've tried.
Finally, I suffer from anxiety and depression myself -- getting better, writing this blog helps -- and I get very angry watching these stupid expensive commercials made by people who I suppose focus-tested them with people who are not mentally ill.
Maybe the government is hiring that agency to help the department of national defence with their "thanks, military for solving my PTSD!" commercials. The ones where they don't talk to people who have been let down by the military.

On January 28, I'm going to close my shades, turn of all my devices, and think about what is wrong with the mental health care system in this country.
We don't need awareness, we need action on mental illness.
So people. Let's shut up and do something about it.

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