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heffington

Most supportive countries/states for MI?

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I currently live in the southern US aka Bible Country. Everytime I've sought any sort of help I've gotten God shoved down my throat, and I'm sick of it. I am an atheist, and I am perfectly fine with not having jesus, or allah, or yahweh in my life thank you. Obviously America doesn't have the best healthcare system in the world, and often just leaves the patients in massive debt.

My question is; are there other countries or even US states with more support for those who may be mentally ill?

I've heard canada's healthcare system isn't too bad, as well as Spain and the Netherlands. Also considered Japan... all of which actually have studios I could work for, or even just produce my own work for galleries. Stateside I've heard a few northwestern states and California/Oregon have decent programs.

I'm going to be finished with grad school soon, and am looking at different cities to move to, and obviously where I can find work would play a big part of it, but I need to live somewhere that I can also find support.

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Guest Vapourware

Australia is not too bad, if you can go into the private mental health system. I have not had any personal experience with the public mental health system, but I have heard that it can take a while to get into programs and to see a psychiatrist. I remember when I was first looking for a psychiatrist, my GP recommended that I go private because public would've taken longer.

We also get 12 free sessions a year with a psychologist - you need to get a referral from a GP. It can go up to a maximum of 18 sessions a year - with the extra six session, you need a doctor to write an explanation for why you need the extra sessions. I had my psychiatrist sign off for those, so it was breeze to get them.

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If you have been hospitalized, that isn't an absolute bar to immigrating to Australia or Canada, but you have to show that re-hospitalization is very unlikely. My husband has enough points for the UK, Canada, NZ or Australia, but since his epilepsy is uncontrolled, he is not going to get in any place, because he is ends up in the ER more than once a year.

Canada *had* a two year backup (at least for US citizens), but I don't know what has happened since 2007, when we were gathering info.

Also, Australia has just changed its skills shortage list. Which may or may not work to your benefit.

ETA: And if someone told you support for MI is good in CA, they are nuts. The state is cutting back everywhere, including mental health services for children and adults. The state system is appalling. The prison system is under a federal injunction to get prisoners better treatment, but it has been tough.

Edited by crtclms

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I'm not sure which states or countries are "best" for MI's, but I'm also in "bible country" and living in the deep south, so I can definetly relate and feel your pain on that. Not a lot of people are supportive at all. :(

Edited by justme04

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@justme: Yea at best you get the whole "all you need is Jesus" attitude, at worst you get accused of being possessed by devils.

@vapour and crt: As for Australia, quite honestly I hadn't even considered that. However now after doing a little bit of preliminary research its high on my list. Thank you so much, vapor. Although the careers they seem to be after aren't necessarily in my field (arts and entertainment, specifically I do everything from painting, 3d modeling, to creating my own animations) I can't imagine too many countries wouldn't want more artists/creative talent in their citizenship. New Zealand sounds really nice to me as well, and its absolutely gorgeous to boot (Australia has its fair share of stunning scenery I'm sure). I do have a question about Australian culture because honestly I know next to nothing about it other than over the top stereotyping movies like Crocodile Dundee and Welcome to Whoop Whoop (a great movie btw). Do Aussies embrace the weird/eccentric or ostracize them? Seems from an outsiders perspective they tend to embrace more than ostracize, but hard to judge. Also, how big of a grip does religion have on the people, politics, and daily life in general? Is there much in the way of racism/bigotry?

I didn't know that about California, what a shame.

The more I think about it the more just immigrating out of the US seems to be my best option. There really isn't anything to hold me here. The only concern I have is the potential "brain drain" on America by people like me deciding to immigrate elsewhere leaving a country full of massive firepower in the hands of religious zealots, and my general ignorance of places outside the US. But if America can't provide the things we need to live a happy life, why stay. After all my ancestors immigrated to America in the early 1800s in search of a better life and (ironically) religious tolerance, why not continue that tradition.

edit: fun fact: New Zealand is not recognized by the spell checker.

Edited by heffington

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Guest Vapourware

I think us Aussies tend to be pretty relaxed about people in general - we don't really care unless you start acting like an asshole and impacting on other people's lives. As for religion, IMO we are far more secular than the US and religion doesn't play a huge role in society. Religion is more of a personal thing for the majority of people.

Of course, this also depends on the circles that you frequent. I'm generally with the music and arts people [i have some involvement in the local music scene, I have musician and artist friends] so we tend to be very welcoming towards people. I assume that if you are a creative type, you would find that your eccentricities would be more tolerated.

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I live in Michigan, and it's not bad at all if you're doing things privately. The public system really sucks, but I think that's true in all states. I've never been told to do anything religious. I've checked off a box on intake forms stating I have no religious persuasion, and so it doesn't come up. Stick to bigger cities, and you'll be fine.

Of course, Michigan has one of the worst economies in the states. Unless you've done your graduate work in something health care-related, there probably is no sense in coming here. But I suppose it's worth perusing some job ads. You never know.

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I live in Las Vegas, and we are so used to tourist doing crazy shit we don't blink an eye at anyone. You could walk down your street with a speedo and a pint of open beer and there's nothing wrong with it, legally or morally. No public intoxication laws here, lol. And since the city is so transient, no one really gives a shit if they know you or not. I've been in my house six years and talked to my neighbor on my left once.

The county mental health system isn't bad here. Busy, but not bad. Sliding scale based on income includes dr care and meds. With insurance, there is parody for mental health care to be on par with GP care.

The bad thing is we have the highest unemployment rate in the nation. 160,000 people out of work out of 2 million. It sucks the most for casino workers and construction workers.

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If you have been hospitalized, that isn't an absolute bar to immigrating to Australia or Canada, but you have to show that re-hospitalization is very unlikely. My husband has enough points for the UK, Canada, NZ or Australia, but since his epilepsy is uncontrolled, he is not going to get in any place, because he is ends up in the ER more than once a year.

Canada *had* a two year backup (at least for US citizens), but I don't know what has happened since 2007, when we were gathering info.

Also, Australia has just changed its skills shortage list. Which may or may not work to your benefit.

ETA: And if someone told you support for MI is good in CA, they are nuts. The state is cutting back everywhere, including mental health services for children and adults. The state system is appalling. The prison system is under a federal injunction to get prisoners better treatment, but it has been tough.

Public mental health in CA sucks, but private can be very good.

Edited to add the state so that what I said might make a little sense.

Edited by Stacia

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I also live in the deep South, in a rural area; I moved here for work. Although I also get tired of the huge emphasis on the Bible, I haven't had any medical provider mention religion to me, though I do notice that some of them have a copy of the Bible in their waiting rooms. But whatever, I'm interested in whether they're a good doctor or not. Actually, my favorite pdoc of all time is here, and was born and raised here. I doubt that we share any opinions outside of psychiatry, but he's a great doctor. He's clearly a good 'ol boy, but he knows his medicine inside and out.

As far as surviving here, I mostly keep my head down and my mouth shut, but I'm happy to keep to myself so that's not a bother. If I was an artist looking for a place to work or sell my art, this isn't where I would choose. I have lived all over the US and overseas and in general find that cities are the most tolerant of anything that's not mainstream. Even the smaller cities here in the South seem to have some arts stuff available.

As someone else pointed out, public medical services in the US are tough everywhere, and the latest round of budget cuts isn't going to help.

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I've heard canada's healthcare system isn't too bad, as well as Spain and the Netherlands.

As a Dutch person who has lived in the US, I can definitely think of a few good points about here. As an atheist, you will fit right in. (Well, there are religious people, obviously, but it's a very, very secular country.) Health care is very cheap (think 100 euros a month for your health insurance, with up to 70% reimbursed by the government if you're low-income, and a 200 dollar yearly deductible, no co-pays.)

I am not a huge fan of the mental health care around here, though. For some problems, e.g. severe, complex PTSD, or being borderline and wanting DBT, you may be on a wait list for 1 - 2 years. Dutch people get a lot of vacation (awesome for employees), but that also means the whole place kind of shuts down during July and August. Pdocs and tdocs around here seem to spend a lot of time wanting to discuss exactly what it was in my childhood that made me turn out so fucked up (I can't think of anything). They diagnose personality disorders a lot -- which I don't object to, exactly, but it often becomes very easy to blame treatment failure on the PD. Soon we will be paying an extra 300 euros a year for public mental health care, which no-one with any kind of physical problem has to pay for their health care, because it's not like mental illnesses are REAL illnesses, yanno, and it's not like MI people aren't already, disproportionately, very low-income people. This is just part of our new government's policy of fucking over the vulnerable, the disabled, the poor, etc. (why yes, I am a little bitter).

Anyway, although I don't like the general direction of things around here, it's probably still better than many places in America right now. And I can definitely guarantee that people will not hassle you about Jesus.

ETA: Also, there is a fairly decent safety net around here (minimum income), but if you're not a citizen/resident I don't know if you'll get anything.

Edited by Calypte

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I am not a huge fan of the mental health care around here, though. For some problems, e.g. severe, complex PTSD, or being borderline and wanting DBT, you may be on a wait list for 1 - 2 years. Dutch people get a lot of vacation (awesome for employees), but that also means the whole place kind of shuts down during July and August. Pdocs and tdocs around here seem to spend a lot of time wanting to discuss exactly what it was in my childhood that made me turn out so fucked up (I can't think of anything). They diagnose personality disorders a lot -- which I don't object to, exactly, but it often becomes very easy to blame treatment failure on the PD. Soon we will be paying an extra 300 euros a year for public mental health care, which no-one with any kind of physical problem has to pay for their health care, because it's not like mental illnesses are REAL illnesses, yanno, and it's not like MI people aren't already, disproportionately, very low-income people. This is just part of our new government's policy of fucking over the vulnerable, the disabled, the poor, etc. (why yes, I am a little bitter).

The extra fee for mental healthcare is an insult IMHO, it shows that the majority of the population in the Netherlands doesn't see mental illness as a real ilness. I also share your opinion about the system in general here. Between going to the GP when I first had a manic/mixed episode, and actually getting the Bipolar diagnosis, a year had passed. By then I felt fine of course, so the pdoc told me to do nothing until the symptoms would arise again. A few months later I got depressed, and desperately made an appointment with the GP again to get help. I was then put on another 4 month waiting list to get a diagnosis again! Luckily, I was already undergoing treatment for ADD by then, so I had a 'back door' to also get help for my bipolar disorder.

Edited by samma-samadhi

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I live in Michigan, and it's not bad at all if you're doing things privately. The public system really sucks, but I think that's true in all states. I've never been told to do anything religious. I've checked off a box on intake forms stating I have no religious persuasion, and so it doesn't come up. Stick to bigger cities, and you'll be fine

I live in Michigan as well. The good thing about Michigan is you can get disability and food card pretty easily if your psychiatrist deems you mentally ill. So the state here will take care of you very well.

As for selection of psychiatrists, Grand Rapids has quite a few very good doctors and excellent selection. Of course there is also the option of Michigan State University and UoM if you want professional

care as well, although I've heard it's not that different of care of other psychiatrists. Just really depends on which psychiatrist you get. And you will not get "God shoved down your throat" either.

The downside to Michigan, like this poster says is that if you recover from MI there is not a whole lot of jobs here and the winter lasts a long time and can be depressing.

I'm not sure what part of the south you are from but when I lvied in Houston it seemed like there were some decent resources there for doctors. Although I would have to agree with you the services

did not seem the best from what I tried.

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I'm in Canada. Our health care system is way better than the US model but far from perfect. Re MI, in the past 6 months or so there have been a lot of government and corporate sponsored initiatives about "Mental Health Awareness" and ads on TV, but I haven't noticed any improvements in actual care for the MI. In the meantime our Crime Minister is planning to build many new jails, where the mentally ill will no doubt be warehoused. Certainly there are no plans to increase funding for supportive housing or mental health wards in hospitals.

Health care is provincially run here, so it differs from province to province. I live in Ontario. We have private and public pdocs and tdocs here. If you can pay for the private ones you can get in right away. If you go through the public system you'll have to wait several months to see anyone. You either need a referral from a GP or a trip to the ER. I got my treatment via the ER but still had to wait about 4 months to see any docs. But, in the meantime they assigned me a "crisis counsellor" who came to my home every week until the docs took over my care. I live in a major city, so care is more accessible than in small towns or rural areas.

RE drugs, unless you have private insurance you have to pay the full cost. Otherwise the only way I know of to get them cheap or free is via social assistance (welfare or disability). Welfare is easy to get but disability is (deliberately) a nightmare. You have to fill out reams of forms and then it takes them at least 6 months to come to a decision. On assistance you get a drug card that covers the entire cost of most drugs.

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Minnesota. I have friends here who are on Medicaid and full disability, and they get better health care, mental included, than I get, and I'm paying for my care.

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