A System In Crisis...
I have written and spoken at length, over many years, about a historical development in the mental health system that I call “the professionalization of care” (see, for example, this issue of the Shalem Digest or this video introduction to WrapAround). No doubt some would say that I carry on about this theme ad nauseam. But when, yet again this weekend, I learn of experiences of harm created by “the professionalization of care” in the mental health system, I can’t let it go. It makes my blood boil.
First of all, let me be clear: I work in the mental health system, and I am a professional myself. I have many friends and colleagues doing outstanding work in mental health, sometimes in difficult circumstances, and none of the work is easy. I am not out to “shame and blame” the mental health system or the people who work in it. On the contrary, I have great hope and affection for that system and many of the people in it.
This weekend I heard a story that, sadly, I hear over and over again. A young man went into a serious suicidal crisis. He has a strong, attentive and supportive family. He was admitted to the psychiatric wing of a local hospital, where they worked well with him and with the immediate crisis that he was going through. But his parents were ignored, overlooked, not valued and (absurdly) subtly blamed for the circumstances that led to the crisis.
Bonds that Build a Better Ontario
I was listening to the radio this morning and heard an ad for Ontario Savings Bonds, described as “bonds that build Ontario.” The government advertises them as a way to support the province’s investments in hospitals, schools, roads and bridges.
It got me thinking about our own personal investments. For many of us, we are making investments too—investments in a house or in our retirement fund, or in an RESP for our children’s education.
We invest in our families when we buy a larger vehicle to fit our growing family. And we invest in our children when we pay for their music lessons or hockey training. We invest in safety when we purchase alarm systems and pay for the monitoring. And some of us do invest in bonds or stocks as well. There are so many things we invest in.
And perhaps savings bonds are a good investment—I don’t know, because my expertise is not in finances or building strong investment portfolios. The ads make big promises: apparently these bonds are “safe and secure” and “flexible,” are available with “annual or compound interest,” and they “mature” and can be “redeemed.” Apparently they also promote “growth” and “help people in their everyday lives.”
I don’t know how often these kinds of promises come true when someone invests in financial bonds, but I do know that such promises can come true about other kinds of bonds—bonds that also build a better Ontario.