The Recovery Rate Gap

The problem with so many advocates for the mentally ill is that they don’t seem to believe recovery is possible for most people labeled mentally ill. This kind of negative prognosis only feeds the unreality of a situation where you’ve got programs entitled things like “Hope For Recovery”. Did you mean “false hope”?

I’m not one to advocate for anybody. I advocate with people who advocate for themselves. There are lawyers who claim to advocate for the mentally ill who instead advocate for the families of the mentally ill. You know how it goes. We determined our obnoxious family member was mentally ill, and we had him or her locked up for his or her own good. Yeah, right.

This approach essentially abandons the voiceless to voicelessness unless you consider ventriloquism ‘speaking’. The ‘dummy’ may or may not come around to your way of thinking. If he or she is only a ‘dummy’, everything is taken care of from the beginning. If, on the other hand, you are dealing with a human being it can get a little more complicated.

How can you see a personality in that body when you can’t see past the diagnosis of mental disorder? All sorts of people, when they are dealing with the issue of mental illness, can’t seem to remember they are dealing at the same time with people. People bearing labels are often unseen. People bearing labels, like war casualties, are mistaken for a statistic in the newspaper.

Recovery rates in the US are abysmal. The rate of recovery in the developed world remains about 30%. Recovery rates in developing countries, according to studies done by the World Health Organization, are twice as high as they are in the US. There the recovery rate is closer to 60%, and they don’t use psychiatric drugs the way we do in the developed world.

Your chances then of fully recovering from a serious mental illness in an underdeveloped country are better than 50/50. Your chance of recovering in the developed world is well below 50/50. If you are beginning to get the idea that something is wrong here, then you are beginning to get the right idea.

The recovery rate could improve, but the recovery rate is not going to improve if mental health professionals continue to use the same old failing formulas. This is a point that has not sunk in yet. Try something new and different, or you are going to get the results you always have gotten, and those results are atrocious.

It is much easier for mental health professionals not to get it than it is for them to get it. When nothing changes, everything continues the way it always has continued. That you are letting down your patients and everybody else can be ignored as long as others in your profession are ignoring it, too. Alright, enough is enough, or rather, too much is too much. Let’s see a decline in those statistics I was talking about.