Recently, I was interviewed on a local radio station Radio Øst by, Yvonne Ringnes Nilsen, regarding my views about mental health treatment in Norway. She wrote an article titled, "Tilbudet til Psykisk Syke er Mangelfullt" on Ille Bra Blogg about the interview. (See it here in Norwegian) Below is the article loosely translated into English:
"Assistance for Mental Illness is Defective"
Artist David Sandum, who lives in Våler, believes it is high time we discuss assistance for the mentally ill.
Unfortunately, the help is not good enough and I myself think the assistance has been poorer in recent years. Many mentally ill people end up not being seen or taken seriously. At worst, they end up taking their lives. It is very important that we talk about this, he says.
Sandum has worked as an artist for 20 years and lives in Indre Østfold. With the diagnosis of bipolar disorder he has periods of extreme highs and lows. After a so-called manic period, there is usually a period where he is stable, and then very depressed. And with no reasonable explanation - It just gets dark. I have had periods in my life where I have been so ill that I have been forced into the hospital. It was many years ago, but I have been there, explains Sandum.
In a candid interview, he talks about his own thoughts on a health care system that he believes doesn't take mentally ill patients seriously.
The assistance for mentally ill people in Norway is far too poor. My personal experience is that the offer has been gradually getting worse in recent years, says Sandum.
(Hear the full interview at the bottom of the article)
Lack of follow-up He cites examples where patients have to wait months before receiving help to be admitted.
When you first get help, there is usually a time frame of up to two weeks before you have to head to the hospital again. Would you like to go home before you feel ready? Moving back to an empty apartment against your will? It's no wonder no one sees any way out other than taking their lives, stated Sandum, who believes there is no follow-up after discharge.
David Sandum is one of several Østfold artists represented during the Winter Exhibition at Galleri Soli Brug in Sarpsborg. The exhibition opens on Saturday 18 January and runs until 26 January.
The interview is from "Good Morning Østfold" which runs every weekday from 09.00 and in reprise at 16.00. FM 97.3, DAB and online radio www.radio-ost.no
You can listen to the full interview here (in Norwegian)