Walk in Mental Health Clinics, Are they Necessary?

I read an article online from The Huffington Post about the lack of walk in mental health clinics.   The writer of the article lives in Canada.  A couple of years ago, when the article was written there was really no place for people to go if they were having a mental health crisis in Canada.  This has since changed.  A quick google search revealed there are several walk in mental health clinics in Canada.  This does not seem to be the case here in the United States.  Just thinking back to all of the times that I considered myself to be in the midst of a severe mental crisis, I never had a place that I could go to right away and seek the attention of a mental health professional.  I would have to wait to be “squeezed” in for an appointment and by the time that would happen, my feelings of rage or despair would wane, or I would have already acted on my impulsive and irrational feelings. Something about this picture is just not right. 

Photo by Erkan
When I am physically ill, and have symptoms, I can call my primary care physician for a “sick appointment” and get an appointment rather quickly.  If it is more urgent, I can go to the nearest hospital emergency room and get immediate attention.  This should be the same case when a person is experiencing a mental health emergency, and not just in the event of a person experiencing homicidal or suicidal feelings. Although these are very important situations to be in that require the utmost care and attention as well. 

I can recall several times in the past when I felt like I was at the lowest of my lows, and I reached out to my therapists for help.  I had some therapists who were able to see me the same day, and others who would not be able to see me for a couple of days.  When a person is in the middle of an emotional downward spiral and feel like they are losing total control, the last thing that they want to be told is that they need to wait a day or 2 before they can see a mental health professional.  Hearing this may exacerbate the patient’s condition.  I think that there is an immediate need for walk in mental health clinics.  These facilities need to be readily available just like walk in health clinics.  People are suffering in silence and once these types of services and facilities are readily available, this will be a step in the direction of accepting that mental illness is real and that people do need help for their mental health issues.  

Photo by Erkan  Utu from Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/architecture-daylight-door-entrance-239853/