October 2012: Mental Health Care Around The World

RubyThis month’s Let’s Talk About topic was chosen by DeeDee.  She thought that since we have authors and readers from so many different countries, discussing both the way health care is structured and the way this affects the care available to consumers would be valuable.  And as it happens, she’s psychic!  DeeDee brought this up many months ago, and recently some of our own authors, as well as others not directly involved with Canvas, have had reason to mention it in their personal blogs.

I live in the United States, and I have had some fairly unique experiences with mental (and general) health care.  So before I add my contribution to this discussion, I would really like to have a couple of my fellow country(wo)men weigh in with their own explanations and experiences.  But that doesn’t mean I won’t leave you all without prompts!

Starting with the basic framework, how is health care, most particularly mental health care, structured in your country?  Is it handled primarily by the government or the private sector, or is there a mixture of responsibility?  Is insurance (either governmental or private) readily available, or are the people who can afford it paying for care directly, and those who can’t relying on charitable organizations, or perhaps not seeking care at all?

Going further, how does the structure of your health care affect the quality of service?  Can you choose your provider(s)?  Do you need a referral from a general practitioner?  Is there a long wait for mental health care?  Are there limits (caps) for the number of visits or amount of money individuals and/or families have to contend with as far as mental health?  Most importantly, how has this shaped the care that you have personally received, or even the national climate of mental health?

That should get you started, anyway!  A (hopefully unnecessary) note of caution:  For those of you who are U.S. citizens, we are down to the last few weeks before a presidential election in which health care is a very hot topic.  So while I absolutely encourage you to discuss your understanding and views of the current administration’s health care reforms, make sure that you do it in the context of health care (not politics).  And most importantly, as always, be respectful to everyone’s views – that goes no matter where you live.

As usual with our ‘Let’s Talk About’, comments on this post will be closed.  To join in the discussion, please go to our page October 2012: Mental Health Care Around The World.

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