In response to September being suicide awareness month, I would like to share our heartbreaking story.
My husband took his own life in February of this year, leaving me and our six year-old son behind. He had struggled with depression, and all of its associated symptoms, most of his life. He was tender-hearted, loving and compassionate, but broken.
After a hospital stay in January, he was told to follow up with our family doctor for refills of his medication. At that visit he was refused and told to visit the local mental health clinic. There he was made to do an assessment, even though he was a prior, long-time patient. He was then told someone would call him to make an appointment to see a doctor.
After a week, when his meds were running out, he was told to visit a local walk-in clinic. There he was told they do not provide this type of service. In desperation, I called the suicide hot line and was passed, again, to the mental health clinic. He called the hospital, and was told that as he was not an actual patient of the prescribing physician, the doctor could do nothing.
During this two-week period of time my husband was being passed around. At the time of his death, he had been without his medications for five days. He could not fight anymore, and he took his life.
When someone with mental health issues asks for help, do not turn them away with excuses. Most people who suffer do not reach out for help. When they do, listen … help. Mental health is a disease like any other disease. Would a cancer patient or diabetic be denied their medication to keep them alive? There needs to be accountability…the mental health clinic is saturated with patients that cannot get timely appointments.
Mental health patients cannot abruptly stop their medications without dangerous side effects. Something needs to change in the medical profession.
Cindy Wurgess, Lima