Rethinking the closing of mental health facilities ... [View all]
this is yet another issue for which I believe that the Reagan era is largely to blame.
While it is true that the closing of public mental health facilities began under the Carter Administration and perhaps with laudable aims, the fact that dumping mentally ill patients into public schools and community facilities that were ill-prepared to receive them, and then ignored - never thereafter to receive proper funding or training for this onerous responsibility - has exacerbated the problem. I firmly believe that had Carter been re-elected, we would have seen some tweaks. But that was not to be.
But we legislators in Connecticut and many other states made a series of critical misjudgments.
First, we didnít understand how poorly prepared the public schools were to educate children with serious mental illnesses.
Second, we didnít adequately fund community agencies to meet new demands for community mental health services ó ultimately forcing our county jails to fill the void.
And third, we didnít realize how important it would be to create collaborations among educators, primary-care clinicians, mental-health professionals, social-services providers, even members of the criminal justice system, to give people with serious mental illnesses a reasonable chance of living successfully in the community.
During the 25 years since, Iíve experienced firsthand the devastating consequences of these mistakes.
Mr. Gionfriddo finally speaks out. He's very late to the party, but welcome, if he and those like him truly want to ameliorate the situation for the future. But there will be NO improvement under Romney/Ryan and that's for sure.