Last week, I posed a question here: Is it good or bad to make mental health treatment ultra-private?
The case I examined is that of a health care system in Maine that created a clinic where clients have the utmost privacy. There's no public waiting room and sessions are scheduled to avoid encountering other patients. The clinic is for a specific population: high-level executives, community leaders, attorneys, doctors, and clergy - all who may be less likely to seek treatment if they have to do so in a public clinic.
This post received so many comments that I wanted to take a second look, including some of the voices of commenters. Most supported opportunities for people to seek treatment privately, including:
- Winry, a young medical student who has not disclosed to colleagues or friends struggles with dysthymia (chronic, mild depression), for fear of being treated "like glass" and not trusted with professional decisions that need to be made under pressure.
- An anonymous commenter who brought up the "right to medical privacy," regardless of a person's public status.
- sanityisknocking, who hopes for stigma around mental illness to "cease or reduce," but is unwilling "to sacrifice job/career opportunities for fighting the stigma by being so candid about such a private issue. Better some treatment in private than none in public."
- An anonymous commenter who hopes that "the existence of such a clinic won't stop others from continuing to advocate for a stigma-free society when it comes to mental health."
- An anonymous commenter who acknowledged that "being willing to seek treatment is HARD for a lot of folks without also having to take on the role of an example for others... Maybe for some people, after they can get started in such privacy, they may eventually come to a point where they want to be more public."
- An anonymous commenter who said it "ain't nobody's business but my own, whether I have mental health needs or not. And if I could find a way to have an autoimmune disorder treated without sitting in a public waiting room about it, I'd do that too. Anyone who wants to go public about their illness can do it on their Facebook."
This last comment forced me to think about what kinds of physical illnesses I would feel comfortable being treated for in public settings. And, although the Facebook part of the comment made me laugh out loud, it's true - we have technology at our fingertips that allows us to be as public or as private as we wish about what we're dealing with personally.