Go Fund My Healthcare

I have chronic mental health issues. Lifelong chronic mental health issues. And treatment beyond medication (not actually ideal or appropriate for my shit) has remained elusive because:

  1. there is no provincial or federal funding unless you’re in acute need (e.g., suicidal ideation, psychosis, etc.), or have severe, debilitating, ongoing needs (I appear to function reasonably well: I go through the motions to tolerate the intolerable);
  2. the two benefits providers I have provide, combined, no more than $500 per year for mental health care (about three appointments with a professional at an average cost of $150-250/hour); and
  3. clinical and lay counselors have turned me away due to complexity (and usually only available for maximum 10 appointments—hardly enough to do any real work).

Despite my discomfort with charity* (I consented because of need and lack of resources) my cousin started a gofundme campaign. (The resulting money—about 13 appointments at the lowest cost—now languishes in an interest-free account, untouched—finding an appropriate therapist is daunting and stressful—and waiting for me to finish my introductory letter to prospective therapists.)

When healthcare becomes a matter of popularity

I’ve never been able to put into words very succinctly (or convincingly) why I feel as I do, but then I found a well-written and well-researched article, “Go Fund Yourself,” about the increasing prevalence of self-driven, health-focused charity campaigns in the United States.


Do tell:

[In America,] medical expenses are the largest single cause of bankruptcies nationwide.

Double indignity when what you’re dealing with is already marginalized:

“Not one of these, our citizens, should ever be abandoned to the indignity of charity,” [former President Harry] Truman told the crowd. “Charity is indignity when you have to have it.”

Chronic doesn’t pay:

The thing about suffering is that, most of the time, it’s not charming. Chronic conditions are especially unglamorous, which is why few get results on crowdfunding sites. The story people want to hear is that they’re giving you money and you’ll get better right away and return to being a contributing member of society.

* It’s been shown again and again that a comprehensive social welfare system, managed by the state, is far superior to the hit and miss application of charity.

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