Emergency Services


Before starting a support group for parents with mentally ill children, I volunteered to work with the emergency services and during my first lunch break, I overheard a paramedic say; “I have to eat fast as I have two crazies to pick up.”

Another said; “Don’t talk that way. I suffer from a mental illness and whenever I visit my general practitioner and attempt to challenge his diagnoses or the meds he prescribed, I am met with a smug smile and a dismissal which leaves me feeling helpless and hopeless so I don’t need that kind of talk here.”

He continued. ‘My friend has a history of bipolar illness and she was left alone in a hospital bed in excruciating pain for 10 hours before a young doctor checked on her to discover that urgent surgery was indeed called for. The head of the department had ignored what she’d said as soon as he read her chart and found the entry, Bipolar.” He continued; “Some of us are denied treatment and told to go away and stop trying to get prescriptions for street drugs!”

There are healers in our society who lack compassion, which is counterintuitive and hurtful. Medical students must be taught not to deny medical assistance to individuals with a mental illness. They hurt the same way as the rest of us, you know?

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