I haven’t been able to go online for six weeks due to a massive computer crash, which I saw coming but didn’t anticipate on in time. When I went back online a few days ago, I stumbled upon an article that states that research found that mentally ill people receive inferior medical care. Didn’t surprise me the least. Neither did the finding that did surprise the researcher: the poor care received by people with mental health issues is not linked to their active psychiatric symptoms, but to their diagnoses!
It is not so much that people with mental illness receive less medical care – in fact, quantitatively they may receive more care -, but that it is qualitatively inferior. I haven’t yet had the experience myself, but I know from fellow patients that bias against psychiatric diagnoses often leads to less-than-standard treatment. “Oh, no need to hurry,” a nurse shouted across a full emergency room to the doctor, running over to check on a young woman’s possible neck injury, “she has a borderline diagnosis!” Some people I know get their every medical concern questioned as if it were something they either inflicted upon themselves (self-injury) or that is due to depression or stress.
And the fact is, people with psychiatric disabilities are at an increased risk of physical health conditions due to a combination of often poorer lifestyles and the side effects of psychotropic medications. Possibly, people with mental illness also seek care less adequately than do healthy people, which means they may actually need more monitoring for physical health.