Australia: Mental illness is no better or worse than Diabetes and Heart disease. But little is done to improve the caliber of Mental Health care. The Mental health services need a revamp according to Prime Minister John Howard. Preferable, if the inmates do their bit to improve the system, aferall only the wearer knows exactly where the shoe pinches! A plan to study the nature of mental health service is on the anvil. The Prime minister, in the course of a meeting with the Federal, state and Territory Ministers, will take serious measures to upgrade mental health care in Australia.
The importance of family support and support for the family required to handle a mentally afflicted patient, assumes significance. A Serious case of indifference, where an embittered boy witnessed his psychotic mother being handcuffed and dragged away without an explanation or a comforting talk, could easily have traumatized the young boy. It was observed, that the focus of attention centered only on the hysterical mother, while the very much stable son was left to cope with the unsettling event. The social repercussions and peer response that would ensue are best left unsaid.
Another Heart rending example to prove how much family counseling could help the family cope with a mentally deranged or instable member. A young Father, diagnosed as alcoholic and depressive had undergone treatment for psychotherapy to combat childhood abuse. Psychotherapy is pretty much of a torment, both for the patient as well as the family. While the patient is helped to cope with the problem, the family is left high and dry with no family counseling whatsoever. Infact, in this case, when the wife requested the psychiatrist about advice to help her husband cope, the psychiatrist dismissed her request with claims of breaching trust and confidentiality.
It is crucial to move heaven and Earth in dealing with matters concerning Mental illness, given the alarming statistics - one in seven people in Australia. The Government now is faced with an enormous task to gear up services to improve the quality of mental health care while providing ample support for the affected families.