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At some time(s) all of us will lose control; feel anxiety, anger, exposure, vulnerability, threatened, stress, depression, uncertainty, be forgetful, or be of ‘two minds’ and so on. Our behaviors will most likely be modulated, and even strange in some way for some period. But all this is normal and a key component of our physiology of survival, and it is generally transient lasting minutes, hours, or at worst a day or two. When such conditions last for many day or weeks or become episodic, we label them mental illness.
The treatment of mental illness sufferers throughout history has not been a happy story spanning; the possession by spirits and demons, to incarceration, and institutionalization to become objects of fun, entertainment, derision, neglect, and disrespect. In the developed world a deal of progress and enlightenment (in terms of base understanding and treatment) has now been established, but there are still marked differences between the older and younger generations, sub-cultures, religions, and belief systems.
The medical profession has come a long way, and their understanding and science are still advancing, but expertise is in chronically short supply. And so there is a universal plight shared between physical and mental health with a gross shortage of skilled practitioners and physical facilities. In reality, this shortfall cannot be overcome by traditional health models - there are simply insufficient people available to be trained and qualified into all the health professions. Our only hope then; is to turn to new technologies with a progressive migration of patients from a ‘Do It all For Me’ (DIFM) to a ‘Do It For Yourself’ (DIY)_culture and expectation.
This DIFM to DIY transition is getting well established for the physical health sector, but it is still in its infancy for mental patients. Both sectors suffer the irrational/uneducated/unthinking/virulent detractors, but the reality is - we have a very limited number of choices - and we can only move within the framework of the possible. But: it is worth noting that the mental health sector is far more of a ‘minefield’ than the physical precursors. And so we should advance and experiment with great care and be sure to involve patients as a member of the team as opposed to being mere subjects and pseudo ‘lab rats’.
“tread softly, lest you step upon my dreams”