This week we lost somebody I have known for 10 years.
I am both heartbroken and angry.
Lots of people tried to get him help.
We tried to get a doctor to acknowledge that there was big issues going on inside his head. The doctor met him for less than half an hour and told us we were over reacting.
No one listened.
He is dead now, by his own hand.
A wife has lost a partner of 20 years and a little boy has lost a father.
This is happening far too much in this country. New Zealand has one of the highest rates of suicide anywhere in the world and the problem is just getting bigger and bigger.
The mental health system in this country sucks. There are very few places where people can go to get better and fewer doctors qualified to deal with them. The hospitals can only keep them for such short times due to over crowding. They are released back into society with a couple of pills and an appointment to see a psychologist, often with little diagnosis.
In the past 18 months someone I know has attempted suicide at least 5 times while under psychiatric care. Each time they stitch her up or pump her stomach and send her home.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not blaming the doctors here (well maybe the one at the top a little) I’m blaming New Zealand. I’m blaming a culture of ‘suck it up and stop being a blouse’. I’m blaming a system that is so under staffed that while they are helping one person 4 fall through the cracks. I’m blaming a government that would rather invest millions in black jerseys and leather balls than mental health.
Often the General Practitioner is so overworked that if you stand there and say ‘no no, I’m fine’ he will believe you simply because he doesn’t have the time nor often the resources to investigate further.
It has to stop.
Do I have a solution? Don’t be stupid. Of course I don’t. This problem is way to big for one under educated, over worked HVAC specialist.
But I want to help.
I want to be a part of the solution.
No family should ever have to go through this. No one person should ever feel so alone, that their problems are too big, that they won’t be forgiven or that they don’t fit to the point that death is a solution.
Depression, along with all the other possible mental health issues, is a real thing. It doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care if you are male or female. If you are black, white, beige or Twistie orange. You could have all the money in the world or be so broke that you have to decide between the burger or the fries because you can’t afford both. Quite frankly it doesn’t give a carp if you would rather kiss boys or girls. Just because you can’t put a band-aid on it doesn’t make it any less real, and the statistics say that every single one of us will suffer from some kind of mental episode during our lifetime.
Its time to stop judging each other and start looking after each other instead. If we can each make one person believe that they are not alone then surely this is a start?
Without the proper training we can’t fix anything that is really wrong but we can smile at the grumpy old bastard in the check out line, he might have back pain that is just a little tough to handle today. We can pick up the bottle that was chucked from the pushchair for the frazzled mum in the supermarket, her kids aren’t the only ones that have ever screamed the whole way round. We can chat with the young person on their own at the fast food restaurant, teenagers are arseholes and their ‘friends’ may have become their bullies that day. We can sit with the ancient old lady at the cafe, you may be the only conversation she has that week.
My point is that it has to start with us.
Yes, some people don’t want to be helped and yes, sometimes even supporting someone with mental health issues is just too hard but we have to start somewhere. Nearly 600 people died by their own hand last year and that number is just too high.
Next week is the 21st anniversary of my brothers death. He was 22. He took his own life.