Disclaimer: This work is an opinion-piece piece written by an individual member of RDSA. The content does not necessarily reflect positions taken by RDSA, the membership, or steering.
By Violet Rose, RDSA Member
You might encourage a philosophy where you embrace each positive moment and seize whatever benefits you can. This approach can only be promoted when the moment that you are currently experiencing is a bearable one. Enter reality.
If you are in the United States and experiencing a physical or mental health issue, usually, you cannot even afford many treatments for your health condition. People create Gofundme accounts just to raise money to treat cancer in their own children. Diagnosis can’t result in much benefit if treatments aren’t even accessible.
Additionally, having a mental health crisis only ends in support if you are willing to claim that you will violently harm yourself or someone else. People with debilitating depression where they can’t function well enough to even eat or drink water often can’t secure any assistance, and without the support of friends and family, people are condemned to suffer agony in complete isolation. People with an existential panic attack also cannot secure any mental health intervention. It’s solitary confinement without a literal lock and key. If your needs aren’t immediately life-threatening enough to require attention at the ER, then, you will suffer that agony without any support if you don’t have anyone available.
There is no general community support in the US, in most environments. There are no options for people to obtain actual, accessible companion services if their mental or physical health causes them to require assistance. If you aren’t physically restricted enough to qualify for nursing home care, are not threatening yourself or others with violence, and aren’t experiencing a physical health emergency, there is no service available that would just support your functioning through an agonizing mental health crisis. You are forced to cry and panic through debilitating fear with no human comfort or support.
We have created an environment and a society where people pursue their own desires at the expense of others to the point where people can be laying in the streets and crying in their homes, terrified, immobile, unable to eat, unable to sleep, and unable to drink water. They call for in-person support that will not arrive because they don’t meet the criteria.
I don’t feel that we need to exist like this. Crisis services can and should assist people with mental health crises outside of just individuals who wish to violently and directly harm themselves or others. Self-harm that is the inevitable outgrowth of an unmanaged anxiety episode or an unmanaged depressive episode should meet the criteria for a mental health emergency, because people still need immediate in-person care under those circumstances. All communities should provide spaces that are open 24/7 to everyone in the area who wishes to use them to connect, seek help, congregate, escape fear, escape complete isolation, and build friendships with their neighbors. I don’t know why that needs to be considered utopian. I just feel like this could be created within a few weeks with just the willpower for such a space. All communities should have volunteers, nurses, or/and mental health professionals that can appear on-call to provide in-person assistance to someone who needs immediate care but might not find that an emergency room provides what they are seeking. These services should be accessible and affordable.
No one should need to be contained within four merciless walls, suffering in physical or mental agony in any civilized society. I shouldn’t need to be discussing this at all.