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Tue Apr 30, 2013, 05:33 PM


"Schizophrenic. Killer. My Cousin." [View all]

It's insanity to kill your father with a kitchen knife. It's also insanity to close hospitals, fire therapists, and leave families to face mental illness on their own.
"OHIO ONCE HAD one of the top mental health systems in the country," lamented the National Alliance on Mental Illness in a 2011 report. "Today, after several years of significant budget cuts, thousands of youth and adults living with serious mental illness are unable to access care in the community and are ending up either on the streets or in far more expensive settings, such as hospitals and jails."

The glory days of Ohio's mental-health department had already come to an end by the time the budget crises of the late 2000s rolled around. But the recession and the subsequent tea party austerity movement made things even worse. On the list of the 10 states that cut the most from mental-health budgets between 2009 and 2011, Ohio was No. 6. Then Gov. John Kasich's 2012-13 budget slashed local government funds by a billion dollars and continued a trend of downsizing community mental-health programs. "The most fragile people in our society, we looked out for them," the governor said. "And if there's a hole or a mistake, we'll come back later to figure it out." (He's since proposed restoring some services.)

"Ohio," as Roth explains, "is a microcosm of the United States." Collectively, states have cut $4.35 billion in public mental-health spending since 2009.


"I can't even tell you how many times I've seen this kind of situation leading up to somebody killing somebody," says Lipetzky, the Contra Costa County public defender. "I have two NGI clients right now who tried to kill their parents," Eleanor says. "One of them even had 'em tied up and everything" when the parents were able to talk their child out of it. If we don't talk about the whole, true picture of untreated mental illness, Torrey says, so that we can treat it, the far-from-standard but still very real possibilities for violence from a judgment- and impulse-impaired brain, "the stigma's going to go on forever because of the high-profile homicides that cause the stigma."

"Once Houston is finally hospitalized and treated," my Aunt Annette says, "maybe Mark will finally be able to truly rest." And if that doesn't happen, at least—at the very least—"his story can go to a greater cause. I want people to know about this," she says, with a sharp, gasping cry. That's why she's telling me, and I am telling you: "If this story can serve a purpose, I feel like Mark will not have died in vain."


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Reply "Schizophrenic. Killer. My Cousin." [View all]
grahamhgreen Apr 2013 OP
hedda_foil Apr 2013 #1
truedelphi Apr 2013 #2
Delmette Apr 2013 #3
Skittles Apr 2013 #5
Neoma Apr 2013 #4