It’s Hard to Trust a System that Seems Broken

A matter of trust

…Continued from yesterday.

Some of you may wonder why we didn’t just find help for Sarah close to home. After all, the cross-country search for a treatment center had netted no results (other than additional grey hairs and wrinkles and a lighter wallet).

Trust. I didn’t trust the mental health care system in a 60-mile radius of our little town. Let me explain Holbrook. It sits on the edge of the Navajo and Hopi nations and the population and elevation share the same numbers—5080, plus or minus depending on the day or where one stands.

Tow Mater sits in the parking lot of the Cozy Cone Hotel, um, actually, the Wigwam Inn (which, as Sarah once pointed out, consists of concrete teepees, not wigwams). Joe and Aggie’s Café, where the producer of the movie Cars once stopped for lunch and found inspiration for the blockbuster movie is a block away from Safeway—the only grocery store in town. The community college on the hill has a big billboard right next to the railroad tracks that makes me cringe every time I drive into town: “Got Skills?” it screams (maybe this only makes English teachers cringe).

Because it has the distinction of county seat, Holbrook has a prison, justice center and a museum, in addition to a post office, some hotels, the fairgrounds and fast food restaurants. Doctors and physician’s assistants rotate through town at two different clinics—so one never knows who one will see when making an appointment.

Winslow, home of the famous song about standing on the corner, lies 30 miles to the west and boasts a Wal Mart and two hospitals. Red dessert stretches out for miles, and wind pushes tumbleweeds and dust into every corner of one’s yard and house.

As often as I tried explaining to the insurance representatives and eating disorder programs, no one seemed to understand that we live in the middle of nowhere. And, while help is available, I didn’t trust it much.

I have good reasons. Our first year here one of our students tried to commit suicide in the dorm after having an argument with someone. The mental health system seemed largely unimpressed with our shock, concern and dismay. It took over a month for the student to receive actual help.

I didn’t trust the system in the surrounding area, and there’s no Yelp app for those in desperate need of good mental health care.

There's no Yelp app for those in desperate need of good mental health. #fmfparty Click To Tweet

…to be continued.

Have you ever had problems trusting doctors or medical establishments?

Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a 'recovering cancer caregiver' who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

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