Mental health may seem not such a big deal until something happens like it did the other day in Newtown, CT. I worked in mental health for 6 years and even though I only worked as a transcriptionist I did notice how the mental health system works. There is hardly any state hospitals anyore. State hospital meaning a place where a person can be house for a long period if not the rest of their life.
Mental health for people with real issues is a vicious cycle. A person that is Schizophrenic, Bipolar and needs to be on meds constantly will more than likely end up in a local ER, put in a psych ward in the hospital for a week or so, then placed in a stepdown LTSR (Long term structured residential program) for a while if available. There they will get in a structured environment and get their medicine everyday. After they become “stable” they will be let out and back into the rest of the world where they will “think” they feel fine. This meaning they will more likely than not quit taking their medicine because “they are better.” No one is there to force them to take thier medicine. They decline. Eventually they wind up back in the ER or go a bit crazy. Sad as it seems this is a repetative happening in our society. The mentally ill will also commit crimes and end up in the jail system. Hence, the over population.
In my opinion state hospitals need to be reopened or have more funding to the ones that are opened. There are people that cannot survive out in the world on their own and unfortunately in today’s society they are supposed to be told they are okay and released in with general population. The sad fact is that there are several people that need the structure, support, schedule, etc that a mental hospital or long term residential system provides. However, this has been swept under the rug. I am not sure totally why, whether people are afraid of hurting other people’s feelings by labeling them or what.
Whichever, I am thinking if this kid that committed the horrific acts last Friday could have sough real help and treatment, maybe, just maybe this would not have happened. The mental health system is severely lacking in our country. I would be fine with some funding for this cause if it would help people.