Mental Illness Part 3 The System
Originally posted to my FB account. Honestly because more people follow me there. Maybe if I start posting this to every social media I can find I will be heard by someone who can make a difference. If you agree or disagree please share. Dialogue on this subject is very important.
I want to share with my FB friends something I experienced at work tonight. Many of you know I work with the mentally ill in an emergency department. You may also know I NEVER speak about specific patients. Today I witnessed something that all of you need to be aware of. I had a patient tonight that was released from jail. Two years ago he had a violent crime. He was sentenced to a state mental hospital (patient is schizophrenic) He was stabilized in the hospital and returned to the local jail to finish his sentence. Here is the problem. While he was in jail his Medicaid was stopped. Completely understandable government should not be paying in two places. He was released with no medications, no Medicaid and an appointment to see a psychiatrist in a couple of months.
When this patient decompensates over the next few weeks he WILL become psychotic again. With a known pattern of violence when psychotic it is probable he will become violent again. Maybe the next time he will kill someone. Maybe the next time he will find his way into some school and kill a bunch of children.
Then all of us will say how bad the mental health system is. We will morn the loss of innocent lives. We will point fingers at Democrats and Republicans. We will demand answers from our elected officials who will have none. Somehow we believe that it is better to spend tens of thousands of dollars locking someone up after they harm and kill people than to spend a few hundred dollars a month to make sure they have treatment.
Yes, I know one of the biggest problems with the mentally ill is medication compliance but this patient came to an emergency room begging for medications so he would not get sick. I will tell you the answer is not receiving care from emergency room physicians who are not trained in the treatment of the mentally ill.
Here are some cost effective solutions that we must DEMAND from our elected officials.
1. No mental health patient is to be released from jail, prison, state hospital, or crisis unit without enough medication until they have an appointment with a psychiatrist.
2. No mental health patient who loses their insurance due to incarceration is to be released from their incarceration until their insurance is reactivated.
3. No mental health patient should be released from their incarceration without an appointment with a psychiatrist within 30 days of release.
If you think this costs too much, how much is a innocent life worth? If you think they should be locked up forever are you willing to pay for that if it can be avoided?
Mental Illness Part 2 The Death of Robin Williams
This was a response to someone referring to Robin Williams’ suicide as selfish.
The death of Robin Williams has really made me look at my feelings about depression, mental illness and suicide. I have spent most if not all of my adult life working with the mentally ill, educating people about mental illness and trying to change perceptions. Mental illness is just that an illness. If Robin Williams had died from cancer we would not be having this discussion at all. We wouldn’t comment on the fact that he had a supportive family and access to the best medicines. We certainly would not blame him. If he had died from cancer we would not have referred to him as a coward but how courageous he was until the end. We certainly would not have blamed it on his liberalism. As humans we are millions of different cells and electrical impulses. All it takes is a genetic mishap from birth or something after birth that changes our chemistry. It is the same with cancer, heart disease, diabetes and the many other disorders that affect humans. Robin Williams did not die from suicide. He died from depression. While I am very sad that he could not be helped and that I will never see another new skit or movie with him in it but I respect his decision to end his pain. I never want to see another person in my life, friend, family or complete stranger die from depression and I will do anything in my power to help them or help them find the help they need. I also understand too well the burden that carrying around the weight of such a terrible disease can put upon a person.
Mental Illness Part 1
My handful of Tumblr friends I have not posted in a very long time and I hope at least a few of you are still out there. I am going to share a posting I made on FaceBook and a response I made on FaceBook about mental illness. These are not polished but the subjects are very important.
lady gaga turned 28 this year. madonna did that in 1624… when will the plagiarism stop?
Coca-Cola was on target.
I was going to stay out of the fray of the Coca-Cola Super Bowl ad, but the comments being made are beyond my comprehension. Katharine Lee Bates who wrote America the Beautiful was a progressive. While it is not clear if she was gay or not she lived with a woman for 25 years until the friend’s death.
This country was founded by immigrants. They came from Europe, Asia, and Africa. None of them spoke English upon arrival. They built our railroads, bridges and dams. They gave their lives to make this country great. Many of them died without ever speaking a single word of English.
I am saddened by the fact that some American’s see diversity as an evil. What made this country the great melting pot was not a shared language but a shared belief that all men are created equal and that we have the God given right to pursue happiness. That is not just white Christian men but women, racial minorities, LGBT, Muslims, Jews and yes even people who don’t speak English.
In 1910, when a colleague described “free-flying spinsters” as “fringe on the garment of life”, Katharine Bates answered: “I always thought the fringe had the best of it. I don’t think I mind not being woven in.”
After Coming Out, Gay Mormon Finds Support At Home
I hear a lot from young gay Mormons worried about coming out. This may not be typical but maybe will become so.
A picture tweeted by @MattLyonSLC, shows boy scouts in Salt Lake City wearing rainbow kerchiefs, delivering pizza to county workers who are skipping their lunch break to keep serving the hundreds of gay couples lining up around the block for marriage
I recently watched a video of a YouTuber that came out of the closet. I was reading the comments posted by his fans. Of the 50+ thousand comments most were very supporting but there were a few that asked the question, “Why do you have to tell people?” What a great question when you remove the hostility that came with it.
The lying begins for LGBT youth with a lie to ourselves. When we start realizing we are different from our peers we deny it to ourselves. It is just a phase. All my friends feel this way. Once we stop lying to ourselves we try to remain safe, emotionally and physically, by lying to others.
Our peers point out the opposite sex to us and ask our opinion. We play along and say, “yeah, she/he is cute.” We go along with anti-gay jokes hoping no one suspects our little secret. Sometimes we do the ultimate lie and date the opposite sex.
Each time we tell a direct lie or lie by omission it puts a weight on our backs. We fear that someone will discover the lie. We fear we will slip and use the wrong pronoun when talking about the date we had over the weekend. This weight becomes more and more unbearable. Some of us will turn to drugs and alcohol to deal with this constant fear. Others become depressed and withdrawn hoping the less they speak the less likely one discovers the truth.
This never goes away even for those of us that are open about who we are. Knowing when it is important to be open is not easy. Knowing when the right time to tell someone in your life that you are different is at best a mountain to climb.
If you think this is easy, spend 1 week of your life not mentioning your spouse or your children.