I am sitting in my office today feeling a little smug. I am a list oriented person.  I write processes and procedures in the networking and computer world and now I tend to be very methodical in my everyday thinking as well.  I am pretty proud that I can do that and can usually figure anything out, technical or not, if I list out a process on how to get to the end result. 
Last night my husband and I went to a local place to listen to a band.  We met friends there and it was pretty fun.  At the end of the night, the “drunkest” person in the entire place who was stumbling around and obviously had a drinking problem singled me out of an entire room.  He wanted a song to be played for me, he wanted to tell us about himself, he really wanted to communicate something but there was really no way to understand him.  Our friends had left and my husband and I were going to sit and listen to the band but this same person just would not leave me alone.  He would walk away and then come back, go talk to other people and then remember we were sitting over in the back corner and he would wander back to our table.  I had enough. Chris needed to use the restroom and I was not going to sit there by myself. 
I watched him and wondered what his pain was.  He looked old, tired, and worn down.  He had the physical characteristics of a person that drinks too much and does not take care of his nutrition and health.  He was obviously addicted to alcohol and maybe held an addiction to something else that no one could physically see.  Of course we all laughed and poked fun at him, he was the crazy drunk guy that was a mess and floating around the room.  We even nicknamed him “Old Spice”.  We all fed into his addiction for a short time, giving him confidence in his stupor and giving him a reason to drink another beer. 
At one point, he was talking to my husband and trying to do magic tricks for us.  Pick a number and he would know our number.  He waved his hands around like there was something mystical going on in his head and then blurted out a number…never being the one we chose. 
This man is slowly committing suicide.  Slow, painful, and knowing that he is destroying himself.  Maybe we all laugh and poke fun at him and with him because it is too sad and painful to watch otherwise.  People like this make comments, one-sided, one line comments.  He did that too, usually unintelligible but often a random thought would come out and it was a definite sign of something much deeper going on with him.  Maybe even something that he himself did not understand or was scared of.
What are his chances of survival?  I don’t know.  He will probably be ok and continue to just do as he does until the day his pain stops and he is laid to rest in peace.  He will drink and go out and try to live, and start over at the beginning again the next day.  He is probably ostracized from his family like he was ostracized from each table he went to last night.  I know it was painful because his comment was that he could no longer go to the table next to us…but he wanted to.  He said he couldn’t because the lady at that table just wanted to go home with him and he threw his arms up and said he just does not do that.  That told me that he was told to not go back to that table.  This man just wanted to belong somewhere, wanted to talk to people, wanted to be part of the group somewhere in that room.  He wanted to connect. 
So why can’t someone fix the mental health care system in the world?
We have artificial hearts and medical advances that have caused the healthcare field to skyrocket as a key employer for the future and one of the largest money industries in the world.  Where does mental health care fit into that?  Why is the healthcare system being regulated and revamped in my country with mental health care as a bargaining tool that will be chopped out and left on the editing room floor? 
Social Issues by Leslie Beery (not in any order and not a complete, all-encompassing list)……
1. Homelessness 2.  Addiction  3.  Stress  4.  Unemployment  5.  Personality disorders  6.  Suicide  7.  Poverty  8.  Abuse  9. Bullying  10. Crime  11.  Hate and Ignorance  12.  Obsession and Oppression  13.  Self Image and Social exclusion  14.  War
What do you do when a nation has a leader that has a mental health issue?  In a democratic society it would work itself out with checks and balances but in a nation where democracy did not exist the people are subject to a bumpy ride or complete terrorism.  What do we do as a world or country or even community to make mental health care a priority to tackle other social issues?  Why is it that I can sit here and see how intertwined they all are…and I am sure I am not the only one…but mental health issues are still so taboo and swept under the rug.  Why can’t mental health be our top priority. 
The mind is pretty hard to pin down and examine since it is not a physical thing.  The brain is, but the mind is a “smoke and mirrors” type of thing.  We can medicate a chemical imbalance and sedate pain, but we cannot take an x-ray or a scan to fully understand an individual’s mind.  If you are in a state of mental distress it affects your ability to understand that you need help.  Mental health and caring for the mind is not the top priority if you do not understand that there is a problem.  And how can you reach out if you don’t understand the problem and most definitely cannot see a solution. 
So again the gap exists within the mind.  Mental health needs to be a priority for many issues to be positively affected…but our own minds stop us from obtaining that help or from making it a large scope priority for everyone.  So what gets in the way? What is it within our own mind that stops us from fine tuning to be healthier?
Ego, stigma, money, availability of help, not knowing we need help, feeling like a failure (part of stigma), perceived as weak, perceived as crazy, stubbornness. 
The man in my story above.  If someone took him and cleared his body of the alcohol and drugs, showered him, shaved him, took care of medical needs, gave him new clothes and fed him a healthy meal what would happen?  Nothing.  It would take a matter of days for him to be back where he was last night.  No one took care of his mind. 
It is hard work.  In all of my psychology classes and time in front of an alcohol addict or heroin/meth addict it is not something you can go to the doctor’s office, wait in the waiting room, go to the exam room and be cured by the time the visit is over.  You cannot just give a prescribed drug for complete mental health.  You cannot wrap your mind in a cast hoping for it to get better and heal in 6 weeks.  Rehab won’t work for addicts if mental health is not the focus.  And addiction is one of the toughest things in mental health to tackle.  Addiction is a relapsing disease.  Period.
Grief is a mental health issue.  PTSD is a mental health issue.  Depression is a mental health issue.  We have to understand that we are susceptible to so many other problems within our grief.  Awareness about grief starts with understanding that as suicide survivors we have been thrown into a pot of social and mental health stew.  As we get stirred around and try to stumble through it we are visited by depression, addiction, obsession, social exclusion, stigma, etc….  Damnit, it all works together in a huge cycle.  We are a very dysfunctional society by term…because we hide our dirty little secrets and don’t talk about them….and we allow negative cycles to exist and flow without stopping them.  There are 6,952,308,108 people in the world. There are 1.5 billion families.  One million people die by suicide every year.  There are 30 to 50 times more attempts at suicide than completed suicides.  Each suicide immediately affects at least six other people.  At this moment in 2011 there have been a recorded 486,733 suicides in the world.  But we know there are many more that go unrecorded as a suicidal death.  So if you do the math, for suicide survivors alone, how many people are in grief over a suicide of a loved one?  How many does that leave at risk for complicated mental health issues due to the trauma?  How many of those are being made a priority?
I have a file cabinet drawer with folders for each of my “priorities”.  I have an email folder for correspondence with my “priorities”.  I look in the mirror and I see a priority. 
I wish I could design something.  Write a magic process.  Save the whole fucking world.  But how smug of me to assume that I could succeed or would even be correct in my efforts!  Because look at me, I am sitting in the middle of a large circle, I am part of the cycle just wanting to scream.  I want to put a cape on and save them from being sucked into the vacuum!  
You make it a priority, make yourself a priority.  Stop cycles and stop negative history from repeating itself, over and over.  And grab my arm and pull real hard if you see me.  We will keep each other from the swirl of the downward flow and the suction of the turbulent vortex.