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Health

Talk is cheap

The death of Scott Hutchison has lead to a lot of discussion about mental health on social media, which is good and important. But what talking doesn’t do is fix an underfunded, overwhelmed health service.

So you’re sad, and you talk to your friends, and you make an appointment with your GP. That’s all good.

Now what?

If your GP takes you seriously, and some don’t, you wait. You wait for months, sometimes years – my own mental health was tied in with the gender stuff and I’m currently 19 months into that system without any treatment; the various general mental health services have long waiting lists too.

And when the wait is over, sometimes you still don’t get the help you need.

The drugs didn’t work. Your counsellor is incompetent, tells you there are black babies in Africa who have worse lives (that happened to me), tells you they’re not going to record that you’ve been seriously considering suicide because it makes everything more complicated (that too), signs you off as sane and healthy because your six sessions are up and there’s no availability for any more. You’re not any better, but boxes have been ticked.

And my experiences have been better than many people’s.

It’s crucial that people aren’t scared to ask for help. But it’s crucial that when they do, the help is there. All too often, it isn’t.

As Stephen Butchard points out, Scott Hutchison wrote very beautiful music that sometimes talked about his mental health issues, and he did so for two decades. But those issues still killed him.

Talk is cheap, and doesn’t fix the cracks people are falling through.

As I’ve written before, we need to do better, be better.