Sunlit Water

June 6, 2011

My Struggles With The American Mental Health Infrastructure: An Occasional Series

Filed under: Personal — by teofilo @ 10:47 pm

After the debacle last spring that led to me seeing a psychiatrist at the Rutgers counseling center, things had been going pretty well up until recently.  I would see her once a month and she would give me new prescriptions for my Wellbutrin as needed.  As I got closer to graduating, though, she mentioned that I wouldn’t be able to keep coming to the counseling center after I graduated, so at my last appointment she would write me a prescription with two refills that would tide me over for the summer until I found someone else to see.  This sounded fine to me, and I ended up making an appointment for late April that would be my last one.

Somehow I got it into my head that the appointment was for the last Friday in April, but when I looked back at the appointment card that Thursday I realized that it had actually been for the previous Friday and I had totally missed it.  I called in to see if I could make another appointment before graduation, but of course they had nothing until the week after graduation.  I even left a message for the psychiatrist asking if she could somehow fit me in at some point, but she never called me back.  The end of the semester is hectic, of course, and I wasn’t surprised that there were no appointments available, which was why I was so mad at myself for missing my actual appointment when I could have easily gone to it if I had known.

I still had plenty left on my current prescription at this point, so there was no immediate urgency to get this taken care of, but it’s now beginning to run out.  I tried to refill it on the Rite Aid website just to see if the doctor would approve a refill if Rite Aid called her, but today I got a call from the counseling center.  My psychiatrist apparently isn’t around, but the person I talked to said that they generally prefer to only refill prescriptions like that if you already at least have an appointment made with someone else to provide follow-up care.  She gave me the number for University Behavioral Healthcare, which provides mental health services to the uninsured around here, and said that I probably couldn’t get an appointment for a couple months but that making one would be helpful, and that she would talk to my doctor when she returns tomorrow to see if she’s comfortable with refilling the prescription given the circumstances.

I put off calling until about 9:30 pm because I tend to put off dealing with problems, and when I finally did call it turned out they’re only around to make appointments between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm, which once again made me mad at myself for not calling earlier when I obviously could have, but I’ll just call tomorrow morning to see if I can make an appointment.  I’m probably only going to be around here until the end of July, when my lease ends, so I may not be able to get an appointment until after I’m gone, but whatever.

Once again, I’m thoroughly underwhelmed by the support provided by the system.  Cutting people off so suddenly at just the point when they’re under a lot of stress and may be in particularly acute need of help seems just unbelievably inhumane.


1 Comment »

  1. I’m sorry. That’s terrible. Stay on ’em!

    Comment by k-sky — June 7, 2011 @ 11:27 am |Reply

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