Do your damn job, the mental health version

Dear Everyone in the Mental Health Industry:

Do you have any idea how hard it is to get mental health care? I’m not talking about FUNDING it. I’m talking about GETTING it. At all.

I’ve had to track down therapy at least seven times in my life, and it’s always the same quagmire.

You guys have designed a system so complicated that a healthy, normal, energetic person cannot get through it to your therapists. At one place alone I’ve had to deal with a nasty intake secretary who sighed and said, “Can’t you just do the online intake form?”  So on October 15th I did the online intake form. I was told that, I would receive a call back in five to seven business days.

On October 30th, far more than five to seven business days, I called back to find out what was going on. Oh, I was told, we’re not going to give him therapy. And you were going to tell me about this when? They weren’t. Dr. Idiot was supposed to call me instead about the social skills group, and he would tell me. I said, he hasn’t called me. Well, maybe someday, he would have. What about the psychopharmicologist? Oh, they said, the kid can’t have that unless he’s undergoing active therapy.

I repeated, and you weren’t going to tell me so I could track down another therapist, right? How am I supposed to know you’ve decided not to treat him unless you pick up the damned phone or your computer and tell me about it?

They fell back to their position that Dr. Idiot was supposed to have called.

My son has a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome. As part of his “treatment” he’s going to need a therapist, a social skills group, and a psychopharmicologist to maintain his medications. I can’t get ANY of these lined up! And I cannot start the medication until I get a psychopharmicologist.

The psychopharmicology place I called said they don’t actually do psychopharmicology, that this has to go through the pediatrician. The pediatrician’s office said they won’t touch psychopharmicology.

I’m a fairly  healthy,  somewhat normal person, and I cannot navigate this system! How is someone supposed to do this while battling thoughts of suicide or hearing voices or so anxious she can’t get out of bed in the morning?

So here’s an idea, jerks: 

1) answer your phones
2) call back people when you say you will
3) don’t set up so many obstacles to treatment that the only people who can get it are people who didn’t need it in the first place
4) don’t leave ME, a healthy, normal person, crying in frustration because you guys cannot understand the difference between “we decided not to treat him” and “we told you we decided not to treat him.”
5) don’t act as though I’m the one who has a problem just because you’re the ones who don’t feel like doing your damn jobs
6) when I put on the intake form, “This child has threatened to kill me in my sleep, kill himself, and burn down the house,” that should indicate to you that perhaps — perhaps — the situation is serious enough that someone might want to consider treating the child.

I’m sure there are people in the mental health field who actually care about their patients, but the hundred or so I’ve encountered must just be so burnt out on it that they no longer care. And believe me, it shows.

As it is, right now my options are to start giving the kid prozac with no medical guidance (because I do have the prescription for it) and hope someone calls me back, or keep dealing with his rages and meltdowns over things like “I put the wrong meat in his sandwich.”

In closing, I wish you all a taste of your own medicine. I hope that someday, when you are in urgent need of some kind of service, you are redirected to an online intake form, no one returns your calls, people mock you when you call back, and doctors lose your number or simply don’t give a damn about your life. And then I hope you can try to continue conducting conversations with these smug phone voices without losing your temper. Remember me when that happens.

Go jump off a cliff Sincerely,



  1. blueraindrop

    unfortunately, sounds like your area has the same staff mine does.

    i remember one told me all fits were considered normal behavior for a 3 year old and not able to be a cause for evaluation…. even if my child was still screaming and in full meltdown literally 4 hours later over being given the wrong color of balloon at the grocery store until she lost her voice and would finally fall asleep from pure exhaustion to end it.

    another decided it wasn’t an issue if she wasn’t having meltdowns in pre-k, i must just need a parenting class and she couldn’t have any real issues. even if the reason why she wasn’t having meltdowns was because she was clamming up in a corner and refusing to acknowledge anyone or participate in anything.

    a third would only work with kids who were too young to write if they were having issues big enough that they were at risk of being institutionalized otherwise.

    and as much as i normally love her british pediatrician because he doesn’t flip out and prescribe something for every little sniffle, being written off as overreacting over temperament differences wasn’t real helpful either. i felt like asking if he had ever actually done a referral for mental health issues, because it wouldn’t actually surprise me much if the answer were no.

    it did seem to help somewhat though when i skipped calling and just showed up in person with kid in tow on at least having them hear me out. might be worth a shot…

  2. Cricket

    Hugs. “In one place alone.” Sounds like you’re trying several.

    Any decent parent support groups that way? Here they vary, so it might take a while to find one that suits you.

    I’d have done the same thing on the online intake form, but I wonder if your full honesty scared them off. They might be scared he’ll act out like that in group. Most of the time, your kid is fairly normal.

    Much as I hate unsupervised medication, I’d go for the Prozac. His rages are probably also bothering him. I’d be terrified to think I might do something while in a rage. Can the place that diagnosed him provide a dosage schedule and things to watch for so you can adjust it? You need to start trying something.

    What about the place that diagnosed him? Can they provide any help at all? Even commuting might be better than what you have now.

    Another place is authors of books you like. Some offer services, or run clinics, or at least list clinicians who think like they do.

    I feel for you. He’s got great parents, but he needs more, and you need support. I’ll pray for you.