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Mental Illness - The Silent Killer

Updated: Mar 30, 2021

It was a normal work day until Trina drove home from work. As she stopped at a red light, an SUV in the oncoming lane of traffic was attempting to make an illegal left turn, then drove straight for her car creating a head on collision at slow speed. Trina noticed a boy, around the age of seven, screaming, and in a panic attempting to control the steering wheel while reaching from the back seat. The driver looked unconscious, as her head was tilted back when her vehicle made impact with the front of Trina's car. Trina was stunned, and shocked after the impact. A man in the vehicle next to her got out, and made a motion to walk to the SUV, then turned around, and went back to his car. Trina got his attention, and asked him to

put the woman's vehicle in park. Trina felt so stunned, she did not feel like leaving the safety of her car. The world seemed to be rotating in slow motion.

Trina was previously diagnosed with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD) related to childhood trauma. She was also in a previous accident, about ten years earlier, which was a near head on collision by a drunk driver that totalled her car. She was unscathed in the incident, and made no claims for injury from the accident. Although she settled this claim, agreeable to claiming no injury, her neck and back pain came later. She has scoliosis, and an old neck injury from her childhood. At age fifty, she was diagnosed with degenerative disk disease in the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar areas of her spine, as well as arthritis.

When the ambulance attendant came to her window she said she was all right. It was communicated that she was just a little shaken. The police officer found no damage to her vehicle other than a scratch on the bumper. He said that he would record the incident as having no damage, and that Trina could discuss any issues with her insurance company directly if she wanted to. Trina's unhealthy tendencies led her to distract herself from the emotional current during the accident. While waiting to speak to a police officer, she looked at e-mails on her phone, instead of considering how to protect her own interests in the scenario. She needed medical attention, if anything, for the record. It wasn't long before the police officer gave her permission to leave the scene of the accident, and she did.

Trina felt exhausted, detached, and spacey during her twenty minute commute home. She wished she didn't experience that, and wanted to escape that reality. When she got home, her plans to work on her employment project were put aside, as she watched music videos on YouTube until one in the morning. She was restless, and slept very little before she got up at seven am with a slight headache that progressed into needing pain relief by nine am. She then felt dizzy, irritable, and exhausted. She was messed up from the incident, but had to tell herself that it was nothing, and that she would be all right.

Medical attention was provided for the woman in the other vehicle that seemed to have lost consciousness, and you can be sure she got a hospital visit, but any negative impacts regarding shock, or emotional distress went untreated with Trina. Is it because she said she was all right, or is it because ambulance attendants are not taught to ask for personal history, or to treat shock unless it's life threatening? Does our culture teach us to get up, knock the dust off, disregard our suffering, and carry on, which means our trauma goes unaccounted for?

Trina will suffer silently in distress as a result of the accident if she doesn't get medical attention. Society is peculiar in that Trina will be expected to be alright, and she may be accused of taking advantage of the system if she ever makes a claim for any unseen injury. If she makes any inquiries regarding pain, related to the incident, she will be offered medications that could lead to more addictive medications, she may experience financial and employment related losses, along with loss of mental and physical health. There is a potential that all of this may be considered personal weakness.

Global Health Now's reporter, Brian W. Simpson informs us of WHO Director - General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus statements "There is no health without mental health." He further states that the problem is that services, and care for mental health issues lag far behind those for physical health. To address these issues the WHO has launched a special initiative on mental health care. They seek to raise sixty million to bring affordable care to one hundred million people in twelve priority countries by 2023. Further data gathered by Simpson informs us that nearly one billion people are affected by mental health issues. More than three-quarters of people with mental health problems in low to middle income countries will go without mental health care. He further States that people with serious mental conditions die two decades earlier than those without mental illness. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people aged 15-29. This information is very alarming, and I wonder who speaks on behalf of Canadians for Mental Wellness?

The United States is fortunate to have advocates for mental health, such as Lady Gaga sharing her personal story, and making donations for her government to care for her fellow Americans. Canadian high-profile celebs that speak up about mental health, and wellness are Kelly Oxford, Jim Carrey, Leonard Cohen, and Ryan Reynolds. The speaking up needs to get much louder, we need all hands on deck, with advocacy that ranges from our Atlantic coast to the Pacific. If you, or anyone you know is in a position to make a difference, please do so. Take a stand, get politically involved, as people in the system forgotten about need impressionable people to hold our politicians accountable. Share the news, and be a part of those who care.


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