This week in Winnipeg there was a suicide. I didn’t know this man, nor did I have any connection to him but his story still affects me. He spent 8 hours in the hospital waiting for help. He had ongoing pain for months and had already attempted to commit suicide once that same week. I don’t know anything else about him or what was going in his head, but that doesn’t matter. If someone has the courage to go to someone and ask for assistance regarding their mental health, then that should be enough to get it. Especially if you’ve left the hospital by telling the staff: “Mark my words, I will be back here, but I will not be alive”.
I know what it feels like to be sent away after going to a hospital for help with my mental illness. I understand what it’s like to not be taken seriously on this delicate matter and I know how awful it feels to sit in a waiting room for more than six hours and then being told that there is nothing more they can do. And then having to go home, feeling worse than before, after going to a place that is supposed to promote healing and well-being.
Every time I went in for that reason, I felt stupid because I never thought anyone would care. They probably had patients with physical symptoms and didn’t care to see the young girl that was having a panic attack and suicidal thoughts. My problems weren’t as important because no one could see them.
The only time that I got immediate care was after taking a few handfuls of pills. I was shaking, sweating, eventually puking and I could barely speak to the nurses when they started the initial intake. Therefore, bumping me up on the list for who gets a doctor first. I’m not proud of those dark moments, but they’ve shaped me into who I am. Honestly, it was the only way that someone would’ve taken my thoughts seriously. I was on a waiting list to see a mental health care professional and if I hadn’t done that then I would have waited months, longer than I had already been waiting. My issues were urgent and preventing me from living a normal life, just like any physical injury. I was sleeping all day, missing classes and nothing helped until I started seeing someone to talk about my issues.
Hospitals can be scary for some, myself included, but the overall reason for having them is to make sure people get better and recover from whatever injury or illness they have. I’m completely disappointed in our health system and more specifically, the workers in that hospital. The truth is he would still be alive if he was admitted for longer than the overnight period and also if he hadn’t been released to go home alone, with no one to watch him and make sure that he was alright. It was a poor choice made by some doctor and I hope there are disciplinary measures put in place.
I know my words and thoughts will make no difference at this point and because this man is already gone. I can’t help but feel heartbroken and angry and I hope to never hear about something like this happen in my city again. I’m completely disappointed in the staff and I do hope that this family takes legal action and can get the closure they need and deserve.
If you’re in Winnipeg or Manitoba and struggling with mental illness, here’s a page for a bunch of phone numbers and resources. You can call to talk someone, or even have the crisis response team come to you if you need it. If you’re not in this province, then with the tap of a few buttons there are endless resources you can find on Google. If you’re looking to have a chat with someone who’s been there and experienced a few things without having to go to a hospital, my contact page is always open.