October 11th, 2021Just sayin’… By Donna Kelly
YOU will find it hard to believe but I get annoyed at times. Yep, kind, placid me. If you really want proof, just ask Kyle. Maybe don’t.
But I am annoyed at the moment. I received a media release from Victoria’s Mental Health Minister James Merlino on September 14. It read: “As the serious Delta outbreak continues across the state, the Victorian Government is making sure more Victorians struggling during this difficult period have access to the mental health and wellbeing support they need. An investment of $13.3 million will deliver 20 pop-up community mental health services – with around 90 dedicated clinicians providing 93,000 additional hours of wellbeing checks and counselling to many thousands of Victorians needing support. The pop-up centres…will open progressively from the end of September across Melbourne and regional Victoria, with a dedicated triage and referral hotline and website to be established in coming days so people can start booking appointments.”
Now, like many, I have been struggling a little lately. With mental health. And I don’t mind putting that out there. I view mental health like physical health. Fractured ankle, get it sorted asap. Fractured mind, same thing. Simples.
So a couple of weeks back I visited a doctor and mentioned things like depression and anxiety. They asked, as they wrote a script for something else, “suicidal thoughts?”. “Nah,” I replied. One time a doctor asked that and I replied with “no more than the next person” and they looked at me a bit funny so I don’t say that anymore. Who knew?
Anyway, the doctor gave me a referral for the Daylesford Community Health Centre. I forgot about it, sort of, and then saw the media release and jumped on the phone. Hmmm. A very nice person answered and said I would need to drop the forms in and they could put it on the “agenda for the following Thursday meeting”. WTF? How many people are going to be looking at my referral? No shame but some privacy thanks.
Anyway, I was about to say to leave it when the nice person mentioned there would be a wait. “About two to three months.” WTF? Sorry for swearing again, but if I had a fractured ankle and someone said leave it for three months things are not going to end well. I said it was a little more urgent than that and asked if there were any other options. “Ballarat, if you can get there,” was the answer. Nothing about the wonderful pop-up centres being opened “progressively from the end of September”.
Look, I will be OK. I have a good hubby, good friends, have the Headspace mindfulness app, and did you know Cellarbrations (Foxxy’s at Daylesford) delivers. So I will get through.
Who I do really worry about are the people out there, hit by the pandemic, home schooling, stressed kids, stressed partners, people who have lost their jobs and incomes, who were already on the edge, or perhaps the June storm threw them over. But they don’t know how to get help, or push through bureaucracy or maybe contact the government department sending out bullshit media releases about all the help available. (I did send a personal email to Minister Merlino. Crickets…)
But the average person would find it really hard to get mental health help at the moment. And if we ever needed it, it is right now, not two or three months down the track. It’s a hard time right now and we need help right now. So if someone wants to let me know when those pop-up clinics are happening I would be very happy to publish their locations and contact details.
And I really will be fine. So don’t feel you need to get in touch. In fact, if one more person says “it is what it is”, that might just be the trigger. Just sayin’…
Oh, totally apropos of nothing, but how much does the below, from the Victorian Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission, strike fear into every business around the region? I have shortened it a little.
“Case study: Business refuses entry to a customer with a medical exception
“Peter visited his local garden centre and was not wearing a mask as he had a medical exception. He was approached by the business owner. Peter told the business owner he had a medical exception. The business owner asked him for a copy of a medical report, but Peter responded that he did not have to provide a copy as it was confidential. The business owner told him to leave the premises.
“Peter contacted the Commission to make a complaint of disability discrimination.The Commission’s conciliator explained to the owner that there appeared to be no requirement for businesses to require proof of a person’s medical exception or reasonably refuse entry to a premises. They also explained that the business may be in breach of discrimination law.
“Once the business owner understood more about her obligations under Victorian discrimination law, she agreed to provide an apology to Peter. The business owner also implemented new store policies for staff to follow and welcomed Peter back to the business.” One final WTF?