If you have ever volunteered before, you will, no doubt, be aware that April and May are the key months when volunteers are recognized, either formally or informally for their “gift of time.”
According to Volunteer Canada, over 13.3 million Canadians “answer the call” each year by volunteering at organizations they care about. The study also outlines why we take time out of our busy life to donate a few hours a week. The desire to help people and give back to the community are the key reasons why volunteers are willing to donate their time. Volunteering is a great way to help stay connected to community and in turn, promotes self-worth. I’d say that is a “win-win” situation for all.
I recently had the great opportunity to interact with an inspiring health care leader from the United Kingdom.
The conversation sparked many points of reflection for me, in particular, around the current role of service-users in the mental health care system. From research we have noted many benefits in having service-users as active participants in their care, as I discussed in my previous blog. In addition, over the past couple of decades, there has been a complex jigsaw of consumer activities mainly either working within the system to advocate for quality of care and promote culture change, as well as, outside the system in independent consumer organizations advocating for system change and at times role modeling alternative services.
Access to care is a hot topic, but is it the right topic when talking about accessing mental health care?
Scanning Canadian papers and magazines you are sure to find a mention of access to care for various physical conditions and procedures; hip replacements, knees, cancer care. Most of these discuss lengthy wait times, limited resources and few care locations. Very little discussion is given to what brought a person to seek help. Perhaps this is because it is intuitive to us that a person experiencing pain or difficulty managing their day to day life will seek out care in the first place.