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Thread: Mental Health Care in the United States

  1. #1
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Mental Health Care in the United States

    On most news reports we will hear about someone doing some illegal activity that is very bizarre, and most peoples first thought is “What were they thinking”... but were they rational?

    Recently, an elderly couple were walking to a new movie theater in downtown and were attacked by a guy who beat them with a pipe. Further research found that this homeless guy had a history of mental issues.

    I don’t think that there is adequate mental health care in the US, and as a result many of the crimes, homeless people, and other issues are a result of it. I don’t believe that many of these people just have not had the same opportunities as others, but in fact they are just not capable of living life to a minimum standard.

    What are your thoughts on this topic that plagues most US Cities? How many different social problems could be traced to some aspect of mental illness not being treated?
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  2. #2
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    These seem to be found all over Michigan's larger central cities. A cost cutting move several years ago let most dilisional people out of the mental health hospitals to be responsible for their own car. Many wound up on the streets, unable to be trusted to take their proper medication.

    We had an incident last year in Detroit where they one guy wigged out and started to attack people outside a bar. An off duty state cop had to subdue him, and the only way he could was by shooting him. Eventually the poor man died. After he died, his family tried to sue the state and lost as it was just a money grab and they had disowned this man years before.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    A large percentage of people living in prisons in this country suffer from some form or other of undiagnosed mental illness. I was talking once to the Sheriff about our county's overcrowded jail and he said that the worst overcrowding occurred in late January and early February because that's when it's coldest and that's when most of the homeless people (the majority of whom suffer from some mental illness) TRY to get arrested (usually for shoplifting). People's holiday charity is already expended by this time and these folks still need a warm place to live and food to eat.

    No, there is something terribly wrong with the state of mental health care in this country (and I suspect in most other places on earth too). It gets a lot better, however, in the year 2054 when a scientist accidently discovers that.....maybe I shouldn't go into all the details right now, though.....
    Last edited by Maister; 22 Nov 2006 at 11:30 AM.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    Mental Health Care is a serious issue in the USA. Funding for programs to help those with mental health disorders is woefully lacking. Crime, drug abuse, homelessness, and related crimes would be reduced greatly if the programs to help treat mental health disorders were expanded and given more resources.

    I do think that most people who suffer from mental health problems can live up to a minimum standard if given the proper treatment and with proper support groups (whether it be family, meeting groups, frineds, etc). I think saying that people are just not capable of living to a minimum standard is akin to just locking the people up in a state "hospital" for the rest of their lives and strapping them to a bed to "protect themselves". There certainly are those that need to be treated in prison, state hospitals, etc, but the non violent people who suffer from these diseases and either don't have the ability to pay for treatment, don't have a proper support group, or other reasons are the ones who could benefit the most from enhanced programs.

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    Cyburbian gicarto's avatar
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    I believe that much of the blame on mental health problems rests in the patients who refuse to take medication. As someone who has gone through some pretty serious treatment, I watch fellow patients being completely stubburn about addmitting any wrong.

    There will always be a problem with mental health and I am not sure there is a good sollution. We just have to hope that people are humble enough to take their meds.

    Until we can convince people that mental illness is not a weakness and is in fact a biological condition, it's going to be a hard war to fight.
    Trying to get my grubby hands on as much stimulus money as I can.:D

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    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    I hear you on people refusing to take meds. An older friend of ours with MS refused to take medication for the longest time, which prevented her from successfully filing for disability. I don't blame the government for denying it when she has not exhausted treatment methods that might have made her able to work. She is now on medications and still can't function well enough to work aside from some housesitting.

    Another friend of mine works for the state department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation as a caseworker supervisor. To see what she does on such a meager budget is amazing. She is severely underpaid compared to what she could do in the private sector and their facilities are woefully lacking.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

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    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Part of the problem is the closing of many state psych hospitals or mental institutions closed over the last twenty years and transferring care of mental patients to community type providers, group homes, etc. Some of these people shouldn't be in the outside world, others can do well if they take medicine routinely but therein lies the problem. A person suffering from some sort of mental illness that is medicated and has a good result may think they are ok off the medication because they feel well contributing to the cycle. Access to care and medicine is also another issue which complicates the situation. I used to live next door to a prison psych nurse and the stories she told would curl your toes and she said that many people in prison have underlying mental issues.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    I don’t think that there is adequate mental health care in the US, and as a result many of the crimes, homeless people, and other issues are a result of it. I don’t believe that many of these people just have not had the same opportunities as others, but in fact they are just not capable of living life to a minimum standard.

    What are your thoughts on this topic that plagues most US Cities? How many different social problems could be traced to some aspect of mental illness not being treated?
    There are biological roots to many (if not most) mental health problems. But how other people around a mentally unstable person choose to respond also influences the behavior/outcome greatly. I have heard that many schizophrenics get worse when they are sent home to their families and that this is likely due to an unhealthy family dynamic.

    Aside from the biological roots of such problems, I think getting feedback which fundamentally denies your experience of reality makes already shaky people much worse. I think the opposite -- getting both affirmation AND realistic feedback -- begins to undo some of the damage. I am rather appalled and dismayed at the tendency for people to assume that those who are mentally ill are essentially "unredeemable". To me that would be like saying we should take people out and shoot them for getting pnemonia because, "clearly", they will never get better. One of the reasons such ideas persist is because those who have serious mental health problems but manage to keep their lives together often go to great lengths to hide their diagnosis, medication, etc.

    I also believe that "post traumatic shock disorder" is a terrible expression of social prejudice. To me, diagnosing someone with a "mental illness" for having lived through something really terrible is like saying "God, why don't you just get up and walk away after being hit by a car. Are you lazy and defective? NORMAL people would have no problem coping." That isn't true: Normal people would be horribly traumatized and take a long, long time to heal. So I think mentally ill people are normal people who have had bad things happen to them, whether those bad things are the biological roots of mental illness or social/experiential roots or both. And the way we currently deal with such things is nothing short of the dark ages, in my opinion.

    I also have to wonder how "mentally healthy" anyone here would be if they suddenly found themselves homeless. Being homeless means any problems you have get magnified. People who might be reasonably functional in more middle class surroundings, in spite of having some issues, worsen when bereft of the types of resources so many of us take for granted.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian natski's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    No, there is something terribly wrong with the state of mental health care in this country (and I suspect in most other places on earth too)
    Tis exactly the same over here- the government has shut down the majority of mental health institutions and has amalgamated the services with the general hospitals- and its just not working.

    I think too that, although it is fantastic that we as a society are able to treat people with mental illnesses so they are not institutionalised for their lives, i think this also i contributing to the problem in a minor way- there are many people that need proper care, and just dont get it.

    With homelessness- i read somewhere that it was a perception that most people that lived on the streets had a mental illness of some kind, but this was not entirely true. Many people live on the streets, for a variety of reasons and it was inaccurate to say the reason they do it due to mental illness.
    "Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?" Zoolander

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    All I know is, if Dan ever pulls the plug on Cyburbia, me and a lot of other people are going to need a local mental health fix.....

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