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MountainLaurel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-29-06 08:18 AM
Original message
Rules Separate Mentally Ill From Treatment
There are discussions about mental health, debates about dollars, demands for more beds, mostly in general terms at the top of political and policy food chains.

Then there is real life -- and real consequences. Check out the first two weeks of this month:

May 1: A mentally ill 22-year-old man is convicted of murder for beheading his aunt in Arlington.

snip

The pace of violence hardly surprises those who deal with the mentally ill every day: social workers, police, parents, lawyers. They know how hard it is to get a sick person treatment, how few resources are available, how the money for help has declined.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...
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Quakerfriend Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-29-06 08:27 AM
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1. ...how the money for help has declined...Yes, how true.
I worked with the mentally ill in an in patient setting in the early '80s.
Tough work but, the patients were taken care of with humanity and caring.

Then in '98 I worked at an out patient facility. By this point it had become a revolving door for all- even the most dangerous.

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Hubert Flottz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-29-06 08:37 AM
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2. If Bush had his way they would put the mentally ill to sleep.
Nazis Are like that!
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teryang Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-29-06 10:21 AM
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3. This about sizes it up:
"When I first started," Fairfax Sheriff Stan G. Barry said, "it was very, very rare that someone who was clearly mentally ill ended up in jail. Over the years, I've watched that change drastically. Now, people with mental illness get routed through the jail quite frequently. It's a game of hot potato. Nobody wants to deal with the problem."

Cut funding, put them in jail or prison.

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Asgaya Dihi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-29-06 10:26 AM
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4. We have places for them it seems
Fewer than 55,000 Americans currently receive treatment in psychiatric hospitals. Meanwhile, almost 10 times that number -- nearly 500,000 -- mentally ill men and women are serving time in U.S. jails and prisons. As sheriffs and prison wardens become the unexpected and often ill-equipped caretakers of this burgeoning population, they raise a troubling new concern: Have America's jails and prisons become its new asylums? (more)

Hour long PBS Frontline video you can watch online on the subject. It, like most other parts of our so call justice system these days, isn't pretty at times.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/asylums/v...
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MountainLaurel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-30-06 09:42 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. Thanks for that link.
While I was working as a contractor for the research division of the Justice Department, I heard a researcher refer to juvenile detention facilities as "the poor child's mental health provider." I thought that her statement succinctly sums up the situation for children AND adults.
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Asgaya Dihi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-30-06 11:21 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. No problem
I had a little experience in the juvenile system myself, not a lot of fun. I know some get tired of hearing about it but I really can't think of a single choice we've ever made that more directly affects a larger number of lives than the choice of "let's have a drug war". This was just one of the angles.

We've got the prison system, the ugly racial balance, and the mentally ill warehoused. Living conditions such as poor or not and crowded or not have more to do with their chances of doing time than the crime itself does. Expand past the obvious and we're turning kids who make poor choices into criminals after a few years living with prison gangs, it drives the rise of gangs, single mother households, poverty and the need for abortions, and it corrupts our police and other parts of the system.

Expand past that and the drug gangs in Mexico didn't used to be there, they moved in when we shut down the Caribbean supply lines from Columbia then increased again when heroin production moved to the America's when we paid the Taliban to shut it down there, then again when we started going after meth labs in a big way so they filled that market. Much of our border trouble and what they are running from is what we caused in the drug war, we don't need a fence. We need a solution. Same goes for other nations for similar reasons.

Past that we've financed our own terrorists and suicide bombers, revolutions, and death squads world wide from decades ago through the present day. Much of the weaponry we've faced has been bought with our own money and it's more than just the weapons that it pays for. We've made many of them rich beyond belief. That's fighting them? Seems a bit brighter to remove their funding instead, we can do that with regulation.

If anyone thinks it's not that big a deal and it's just the users, it isn't. With the possible exception of how damaging the loss of a real media has been to us, I can't think of a single thing that's even in the league of the drug war for a real impact on a larger number of lives worldwide. And it was all a choice, one we can change today if we want to.
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Giant Robot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-29-06 10:38 AM
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5. The system has been broken for a while
This population has needs that can be addressed if the funding is there. This does not necessarily mean a return to the old hospital system, although certainly more psych units are needed. But more money for community based mental health centers, so that those with a mental illness can at least start treatment in their community under the least restrictive care possible. This was the promise that was made and never kept. Truly it would have been a good place to start and see what could happen. But this is where we are now, with people with mental illness homeless, preyed upon, in jail or prison, or dead. I am, at times, sorry I work within the mental health system, as I know we do the best we can within the law and money, but it is not the best that we as humans can do. I believe that firmly.
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