The Community Based Provision For Mental Health Care
Despite being one of the most relevant countries for psychoanalysis in the world with a rich heritage not only in professionals, but also bibliography, the access to this kind of mental health in France is very difficult. Mental health care is at stake in a world driven by money-33making pharmaceutical companies looking only for profit. Read on to understand the role of the French government in this relentless struggle.
Once Lacan, Now A Pill
Most people heard about Jacques Lacan, one of the brightest minds of psychoanalysis who founded an entire school mixing Saussure linguistics and Freud clinical views. Although a controversial man, he was influential for all society worldwide and mainly to the intellectuals in Paris at the moment. He was French and taught a seminar for more than 20 years that was turned into a legacy for analysts to come in the form of compilation books made out of recordings, notes and testimonies.
Psychoanalysis is a kind of therapy that works through the spoken word. It is also called the clinic of the symptom, since it amplifies what the patient is feeling as an ache and turns it into the cure.
Although this kind of discipline is not going through its best time in terms of popularity due to the length of the treatment among other reasons, it is important to highlight the lack of pills and pharmaceutical products of any kind. The clinic of the word heals through the symptom and boosts it until the patient can unveil its cause and deactivate it by him or herself. This difference with the modern pill-centered treatments is not a minor difference since the health insurance in France will not cover a psychologist and many times psychiatrists get partial coverage.
Mental Health As An Issue
According recent studies the access to mental health in France is very scarce and 85% of the total psychotropic drugs that are being sold were prescribed by general practitioners. Marie Telling told the site BuzzFeed that the access that most French people have to mental health professionals is little and expensive. She also stated to the same site that the vast majority of mental health professionals were situated in Paris and getting that help outside the big city was very difficult.
According to a document from the Hôpital Charles Perrens about the state of mental health in France, mental health services were organized into sectors in the 1960s. The population of each one of these sectors was of around 54,000 people. This was a measurement that aimed to balance the disparities of access between people living in different regions of the country. Despite this measure taken half a century ago there are many unresolved issues like the amount of hospital beds available, the staff and resources. By the year 2000 the approximate number was 9.4 beds every 10,000 habitants that were 20 years old or more.
On the other hand, there are 13,000 registered psychiatrists in France, which makes the density of them overwhelming but most find themselves out of the health budget and most common people find the access to them either too expensive or too far, reducing drastically its action span. There have been a number of nation-wide programs promising a renovation in the structure of mental health access but results are yet to be seen.
Mental Health, A Privilege
Because of scarcity, distance, money or social stigmatization, the access to health care in France needs to be improved drastically. French people feel and act as if depression, anxiety and other mental syndromes should be kept silent and dealt with a pill that can be prescribed by their regular doctor. This kind of behavior leads to a society that has bigger levels of repressed violence, irritability and emotional instability. The difference between a pill-treatment and a psychological one is huge and can define the cure of a patient not only saving lives, but also making the society safer and healthier.
If France doesn´t catch up with mental health programs to reach out to all French citizens, they will still see it as a privilege and social stigma will grow. The health care system in France is, by no means, poorly designed or lacking the necessary funds, it is just a matter of focus.