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It is a big subject and a difficult one to cover in a few minutes. I was asked to speak to this at our November 17th meeting and I spoke about the lack of help when you leave the hospital – you are told if there is a problem to return to emergency. Not something a parent likes to hear. You want to hear what is available to help your loved one get back on their feet.
I mentioned too about the lack of employment support. What I should have answered was ‘Stigma is the number one problem – it is why I am standing here today begging for help.’ Lack of service is a form of stigma. I could have left it there.
You see – my area of knowledge – my elevator pitch – is geared to Clubhouse International. Dates, numbers, statistics, key pieces of information are stuck in my head – for the most part I try to bury the negative things away – as it really is too painful.
One of the big problems that parents face is seeing their loved ones face isolation. Larry Clum from Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission spoke to this and he quoted Mother Teresa ‘Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty’.
There are so many faces to mental illness and types too – it’s hard to pack it all into a few minutes – I would have needed more time and prepared notes to explain what it is really like. It is scary, painful and lonely. I have heard it said too that with a mental illness – no one brings around a casserole or flowers – that is for sure true.
It is for the most part a hidden illness and one full of shame still. As a parent – I wish we were progressive like the Lower Mainland and have this evidence-based program that would help so many.
It is shocking that there isn’t a Clubhouse International here – when you consider the research, statistics, positive outcomes – it only makes sense – doesn’t it? If you want to get rid of a cancer tumour you don’t tell people, ‘come back when the tumour is larger’. Should we not as a community be helping people before their illness becomes inoperable?