pantera (kcrosby) wrote in the_garage,

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ten years.

I'd like to write a nice long piece about this, but today isn't the day. However, I have to say that nothing in the last couple of years has made me any more optimistic about the contemporary state of mental health care, whether online or off.

This is a time of protracted economic crisis, and no matter what anybody says, I don't think that either the course or the duration of this mess is predictable. When an economy shrinks, so does availability of health care, even though from a rational standpoint, that should be one of the last services to be imperiled. As health care contracts, mental and emotional health care is one of the earliest areas to suffer. And mental and emotional health care for adolescents is particularly at risk for disappearing entirely -- I've watched it happen in California several times.

All I can say at the moment is: We will only bolster mental health in this country, particularly public care and above all what's made available to adolescents, if we harness the full power of the Internet. In ten years of looking, I've found only the most sporadic attempts to do that. Part of the problem, in the United States, is the balkanization created through state-by-state licensing. Much of the rest is the nearly universal reluctance of therapists use computers, not only as adjuncts to therapy, but for any purpose at all.

We can regret -- and I do -- that online therapy, whether in theory or practice, has shown so little growth in ten years. But we were pioneers, passionate pioneers, and we will never lose that. Certainly, the person I was in the garage was one of my best selves ever. And to all the comrades of the garage, again and as always, thank you.

[crossposted from]
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