mental health care victimization
patty fleener
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Victimization in the Mental Health Care System

by Patty E. Fleener M.S.W.


Many of us have become victimized by our mental health system in some manner. We either are unable to get the quality of care we need, or the quantity. Many times we are not treated with respect or dignity. 

It is common for many of us to be given inappropriate medications or inappropriate amounts of medications which increase our symptomatic behavior and may put us at risk of either self harm, harming others, etc., etc., only to be told that we must wait for our next appointment, unless "we are running in traffic."

We are also many times handled by many burned out mental health workers who do not like their job, do not like being around us, do not understand our issues, do not want to and frankly do not care. Many of these mental health workers, even if they are well meaning, may lack the education or the experience they need to give us the treatment that we need to get into or stay into recovery. 

I am certainly not saying that there are not positive experiences out there for us in treatment for our mental health disorders. There are and there are plenty. However, there are many unskilled, uncaring, abusive settings out there with no budget to boot that many of us run in to and usually during the time that we are least likely to be able to deal with this kind of situation - when we are not treated medically well. 

In fact, many of us experience post traumatic stress disorder due to these kind of experiences with those so called "mental health" settings.


My first point here is personally is that when I am not medically treated well, I do one of two things. My self-esteem is usually very poor at that time and I believe the non-verbal cues that I must be at fault for whatever is happening around me. These kinds of settings usually do not take responsibility for liability reasons and they would have to admit they were wrong. They toss the word "non-compliance' around a lot. If you took your old medicine because you were not to be seen for a week and a half and the crisis unit would not see you unless you were "running in traffic" and you didn't want the police at your house, then you were being "non-compliant" by taking your old medication on your own without permission. 

For those of us with mental health disorders, we have been made to feel powerless in this world as we desperately seek help to live a better life. We need the support of one another!!

Here is a small pearl I can give you that the psychologist gave me during my internship. Something so simple. "Trust your guts. If the situation doesn't feel right to you, it isn't right." Learn to trust what your inner self says. 

Sometimes these kinds of situations just makes you feel absolutely crazy inside and that is why you can call them "crazy making situations." 

If you have Medicare and Medicaid as insurance, go to and do a search for psychiatrists in your area and you will find a list that takes Medicare. The Medicaid will pick up the 20% co-pay. Even if you don't have Medicaid, see if you can pay the co-pay. Find yourself a good Dr. Cancel your cable modem and get back on your phone modem. Get Callwave as an answering machine on the net for free and you can hear people's voices as they call. Just call them back.

If you don't have prescription drug coverage, you can get free medications if you are low income from patient assistance programs.

Cancel your cable on your TV. At least until you can get your medicine reviewed and get yourself straightened out. Don't color your hair this month. It can wait. You'd be surprised at how much money you can find.

If you are not reading this in the USA, you are probably having a VERY difficult time of it. 

Mental health disorders are brain disorders, folks. There is nothing to be ashamed of.. The public is so far behind on this...

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