Mac OhanaAge 19
2 Dec 2015
Bellingham, Washington (USA)
Mac died by suicide after encountering severe transphobia and gatekeeping by clinicians.
Shortly before he died he had checked himself into hospital, but they had refused to let him wear his binder and threatened to put him in a room with "another woman".
My beloved community, we have another loss. Another death to mourn.
Safe Passage to young brother Mac Ohana, who was 18, and from Bellingham, Washington. Recent posts from Mac indicate that he was in crisis a few nights ago (November 26th), and he checked himself into the hospital, seeking help, only to be faced with transphobia and severe rules designed to "convert" or "cure" him of being transgender. THIS is UNACCEPTABLE. Mac might still be alive if he had been seen and respected when he sought help. The treatment he received (see second photo for his own testimony) was unprofessional and, indeed, inhuman.
I will be adding more details about Mac's life and his passing as I receive them. It is known that his last FB post was put up on December 2.
Western Washington University Woodring College of Education subsequently setup a scholarship programme for students aspiring to, or with experience working with, high-risk youth in his memory.
Can I rant about the mental health system and how screwed up it is?
I have been trying to get a psychiatrist/prescriber for months now. I was recommended by my counselor to see this Primary Physician through Squalicum Family Medicine for psych meds. At the time of my appointment, I was just about to get my first shot of Testosterone. The doctor was incredibly nice. She offered to take over prescribing and monitoring my Testosterone from Planned Parenthood. I was more coming to her for psych meds, but it was nice to get an all-in-one stop. Primary Care, Testosterone, AND psych meds? Sweet! She said that Testosterone is a big change, and she felt hesitant giving me psych meds right as I started. I agreed. We agreed to wait after 2 shots (two weeks) and then she'd prescribe me something. I came back to her after two shots, and suddenly she didn't want to prescribe to me anymore. She said, "I think you should see a psychiatrist." Uh, but you said after two shots, you'd get me an anti-depressant? Nope. I could have used those two weeks out of the months it takes to get an appointment at all with a psychiatrist. Thanks though.
Today I went to Unity Care NW (formerly Interfaith) for my appointment. Let me tell you what a bitch it was to just get one. First, I had to call the RSN line on Monday before 8am, because getting in there was super competitive and they only took 10 people a week. So I called right at 8am and got the last slot. Sweet! I was supposed to get a call from Unity Care NW that day. I didn't. So I called the next day and left a message. Didn't get a call back from them for about a week, and finally was playing phone tag with this woman in charge of intake appointments. FINALLY I got a hold of her, and she said to get a psychiatrist, I had to see a counselor through their program. I told her I already have a counselor and it's taken me a long time to establish that relationship and its annoying to have two, so I asked her to let me think about it for a few days. I called back twice a week for 3 weeks and couldn't get a hold of her after I decided. FINALLY, she scheduled me 3 weeks out for an intake. I go in there today, and I meet her for the first time and she says, "Well, since you have a counselor already like you said over the phone, I don't think you can be in this program. You'll have to give up your counselor and see ours, or we can't take you." BITCH! YOU MADE ME GO THROUGH ALL THIS EFFORT TO TELL ME THIS NOW?!
oh my god. I cannot believe how much self-advocating one has to do just to get damn services. It's unbelievable. I feel so lucky to be able to be in a place in my life where I can, but what about all the people that can't? People seeking services are generally in a very vulnerable and fragile state and cannot do all of this by themselves. It's unbelievable what the system expects us to do. Mental illness can be crippling and it should not be this difficult to get services. Not at all.
Mac's Facebook profile is https://www.facebook.com/people/Mac-Ohana/100010671540627.