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June 23, 2004
Mentally Ill Turning to Helplines
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As it becomes harder and harder for the mentally ill and their families to gain entrance into the formal healthcare system, phone services such as Australia's SANE helpline are seeing significant increases in their call volume.
SANE recieved 15,330 calls during the last year, nearly a 200% increase from the 8560 calls recieved in 2002.
Probable reasons for flooded helplines include ambiguous legislation barring entrance into mental health facilities, and overworked, understaffed resource centers, two factors that make it difficult for patients and their families to receive and maintain the care they need.
Said SANE executive director Barbara Hocking, "A significant number [of callers] would be people who know they're unwell or their family members are becoming unwell and are told, 'You're not sick enough'," she said.
The rising volume of calls can also be attributed to factors such as increased awareness of mental illness, and increased incidence of disorders such as psychosis, anxiety disorders, and depression.
The breakdown of calls to SANE in 2003 are as follows:
* Undiagnosed 26 per cent
* Depression 22.5 per cent
* Schizophrenia 20.7 per cent
* Bipolar 12.5 per cent
* Anxiety disorders 8.5 per cent The remainder of calls were for issues such as borderline personality disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism.
For the full text article, see 'Mentally ill turning to helplines' in The Age (www.theage.com.au), June 22 2004.
Schizophrenia Anonymous toll-free helpline: 1-800-482-9534 x 108
NAMI information and referral service: 1-800-950-NAMI (6264).
For more national and international support resources, please see http://www.schizophrenia.com/coping.html
Posted by Julia at June 23, 2004 09:53 PM
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