Sandra Hacker highlighted the inequalities within our health care system where a person’s access to intensive psychiatric services is being restricted while a person’s access to expensive life saving intensive care services is not being questioned.
Taking this paradox one step further is the number of people suffering from a mental illness who are treated with expensive medical technologies in an intensive care unit after a suicide attempt.
Many people suffering from a mental illness have difficulty accessing relatively inexpensive support services that will undoubtedly improve their well-being. Yet, they have easy access to expensive critical care services after a suicide attempt. Finally, near death, the health system notices them. This simply does not make any sense.
It is time to acknowledge the benefits in providing low cost, preventative health services. Who knows? Such services may even prevent some people from requiring expensive, salvage interventions. Instead, they may lead happy, productive lives.
First published as a letter to The Age on 26 September 1996