Millions Could Be Saved If Mentally Ill Received Treatment Instead Of Being Placed In Prison

 

Taken from the  Daily Camera   which is located    HERE.

Talk about crazy.

In the state of Colorado, people with severe bipolar disorder, major depression or schizophrenia are four times more likely to end up in jail than in treatment.

Police officers see more people with mental illness on a day-to-day basis than psychiatrists do.

And the largest “mental institution” in the United States is a wing of the Los Angeles County Jail known as the Twin Towers, where some 1,400 inmates/patients — the lines are decidedly blurred — are housed on any given day.

“Our jails and prisons are filling up with people whose only crime is that they got sick,” says former Washington Post journalist Pete Earley, whose best-selling book “Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness,” takes a disturbing look into a broken system. “And that’s costing you and your community in ways you don’t even know.”

Earley plunged into the madness after his son Mike experienced a manic break while in college. Like an estimated 40 percent of Americans with mental illness, Mike didn’t think he had a problem. His father and family knew otherwise, but because the law says only people who are an imminent danger to themselves or others deserve the attention of the system, nobody could keep him under care if he didn’t consent.

Mike “was so out of control that a nurse called hospital security,” Earley writes of one attempt to get his son help. “Maybe now they will medicate him, I thought. But before the security guard arrived, Mike dashed outside, cursing loudly. …(T)he doctor told my ex-wife that it was not illegal for someone to be mentally ill in Virginia. But it was illegal for him to treat them unless they consented.

“‘Even if he’s psychotic?’ she asked.

“Mike couldn’t be forcibly treated, the doctor elaborated, until he hurt himself or someone else.”

Eventually the young man was deemed dangerous, after he broke into a neighbor’s home to take a bubble bath.

“As a parent, I knew something was wrong. He (literally) had tinfoil wrapped around his head and said the CIA was reading his thoughts. But that wasn’t against the law. Then, when he became ‘dangerous,’ everyone wanted to punish him for it,” says Early, who will speak in Boulder on April 13 as part of the Interfaith Network on Mental Illness’ 7th Annual Spring Conference.

For the book, Earley spent time in the psychiatric cellblock at the Miami-Dade County (Fla.) jail and ferreted out why it’s so difficult to get help for mentally ill people in America. It starts with a lack of resources. Earley says that the general recommendation is to have 50 “beds” available for people with mental illness for every 100,000 of population. In Denver, he says, there are just 16.

But mental-health funding is nobody’s favorite cause. Officials are a lot more comfortable funding cancer research or police or schools than help for “the psychotic screaming out on the street.” Yet that winds up costing taxpayers more in the end. A mentally ill person walking the streets, going in and out of jail, costs between $40,000 and $60,000 a year. For half that, Earley says, we can provide housing and treatment to help them get better.

“Political leaders don’t have a lot of money to spend, but we can say, ‘Look, I can save or cost-avoid you a lot of money. … It’s the right thing to do, morally and financially,'” he says.

Before the 1960s, someone who was hearing voices simply got locked away forever; some were involuntarily lobotomized. President Kennedy signed the Community Mental Health Act in 1963, but it was never adequately funded, Earley says.

In the ’70s the federal government threatened to withhold funds from states that didn’t shutter their “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” hospitals and get patients into more humane community treatment. But in 1980 President Ronald Reagan slashed spending on housing and treatment and thousands of patients wound up on the streets. Since then, we have expected police and courts to handle the problem (Boulder County is an outlier that does an excellent job of helping the mentally ill).

“In Alabama, the best thing to do if you want treatment is to get arrested,” Earley says. “Why do we expect the criminal-justice system to solve what is a community health problem?”

Chipping away at stigma, making smarter funding choices and recognizing that 40 percent of mentally ill patients have a “dual diagnosis” of substance abuse all are necessary to start changing the madness of our current approach.

Proper treatment works, and Earley’s son is living proof. Mike suffered three more acute incidents — including being tasered by police — after the book was published in 2007. But he’s now stable, taking medication, holding a low-level job and living in an apartment.

“People can, and do, get better,” Earley says.

 

Facts vs. Feelings: Streams In The Desert, March 30th, 2013

Peter walking on water.

“We walk by faith, not by appearance” 2 Corinthians 5:7 RV

By faith, not appearance; God never wants us to look at our feelings. Self may want us to; and Satan may want us to. But God wants us to face facts, not feelings; the facts of Christ and of His finished and perfect work for us.

When we face these precious facts, and believe them because God says they are facts, God will take care of our feelings.

God never gives feeling to enable us to trust Him;
God never gives feeling to encourage us to trust Him;
God never gives feeling to show that we have already and utterly trusted Him.

God gives feeling only when He sees that we trust Him apart from all feeling, resting on His own Word, and on His own faithfulness to His promise.

Never until then can the feeling (which is from God) possibly come; and God will give the feeling in such a measure and at such a time as His love sees best for the individual case.

We must choose between facing toward our feelings and facing toward God’s facts. Our feelings may be as uncertain as the sea or the shifting sands. God’s facts are as certain as the Rock of Ages, even Christ Himself, who is the same yesterday, today and forever.

***

“When darkness veils His lovely face
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.”

Easter Praise & Worship: March 29th, 2013

Song List

1.  My Redeemer Lives-  Nicole C. Mullen

2.  Above All-  Michael W. Smith

3.  O Sacred Head Now Wounded-  Fernando Ortega

4.  When I Survey The Wondrous Cross-  Choir Of King’s College, Cambridge

5.  The Victor-  Keith Green

6.  Awesome God-  Rich Mullins

7.  Nothing But The Blood-  Jesus Culture

8.  Were You There? (When They Crucified My Lord)-  Marion Williams

9.  The Wonder Of The Cross-  Vicky Beeching

10.  Glorious Day ( Living He Loved Me)-   Casting Crowns

11.  The Old Rugged Cross-  B.J. Thomas

12.  He’s Alive-  Don Francisco

Reports Detail Jared Loughner’s Behavior Before Tucson Shooting

Taken from the  Los Angeles Times  which is located   HERE.

In hindsight, the red flags seem to be everywhere.

By the time Jared Lee Loughner shot and killed six people, wounding 13 — including then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords — his parents had already taken away his shotgun, tested him for drugs and forbade him from using the family vehicle after dusk. Months earlier, officials at his community college had refused to allow him to return to campus until he passed a mental evaluation. Hours before he went on a shooting rampage, a Wal-Mart clerk had declined to sell him ammunition.

These details emerged Wednesday when authorities released nearly 3,000 pages of investigative reports, painting a picture of a man who had become unhinged and the people who had tried to intervene, worried he was a danger to himself and others.

The disclosure of the case documents — previously kept under seal — comes after Loughner was sentenced in November to life in prison without parole. The 24-year-old pleaded guilty to 19 federal charges in the rampage at a constituent event Giffords, a Democrat, was hosting at a grocery store parking lot in north Tucson in 2011.

In an interview with law enforcement officials, Loughner’s mother, Amy Loughner, said her son had been acting strangely for about a year, often talking or laughing to himself, and was angry with the government, though she did not say why.

Loughner’s father, Randy Loughner, described his son as “too smart for his own good,” saying that he was “set off” after he was dismissed from Pima Community College because of a video. The documents did not describe the video, but at one point Loughner made a video in which he raged against the college. College officials told Loughner not to return to campus until he had sought medical attention, his father said.

Loughner’s dismissal also followed an incident in which he made comments about abortion that his fellow classmates and others found so disturbing that the campus police were called.

That’s when his parents took away the shotgun.

Amy Loughner, referring to school officials, said, “They recommended … if there’s any firearms in the house that we should, you know, put them away.”

“Did they say he was a danger to himself? Or is he a danger to others?” a detective asked.

“I think they said both,” Amy Loughner responded.

She also described her son’s disturbing behavior: “Sometimes you’d hear him in his room, like having conversations. And sometimes he would look like he was having a conversation with someone right there, be talking to someone. I don’t know how to explain it. I don’t.”

Before the killings, she said, her son hadn’t had a job for a year. He’d been fired from his job at a store in the Tucson Mall, and his parents supported him with small amounts of cash at Christmas and occasionally a few dollars for gas so he could search for another job.

Randy Loughner said his son “was just never the same” after losing his job.

“Yeah he … can’t find … couldn’t find a job,” Randy Loughner said, according to the documents. “He didn’t feel like he should have been fired from the job either.… Just nothing, nothing worked, seemed to go right for him.”

The documents had been sealed by a judge to ensure Loughner’s right to a fair trial. Last month, U.S. District Judge Larry Burns approved the release of the files now that the case is closed. Various news organizations had sought access to the documents.

In one interview, Amy Loughner said her son smoked pot but had given it up; he’d tried cocaine but hadn’t had a drink in the five months before the shooting.

The detective asked her whether she believed her son’s statements about not using drugs.

“I believe him,” she said. “We drug-tested him.… My concern was like meth or something because his behavior was odd.”

His father and others described Loughner as an outcast and loner.

Former high school friend Zachary Osler told law enforcement officials that Loughner was a “weird kid. He’d say weird things. He’d say weird things about [how] he consciously dreams while he’s awake.” He felt uncomfortable around Loughner most of the time, he added.

“I think that’s what led to our breaking apart as friends.… I don’t think he really had any close friends,” he told officials.

Osler also described Loughner’s home environment as “kind of hostile.”

Hours before the shooting on Jan. 8, 2011, Loughner entered a Wal-Mart in Tucson, demanding 9-millimeter bullets.

“It was like he was in a hurry…. He just wanted to get in and out as soon as possible. And like I said, he really needed the ammunition,” said Stanley Simmons, an employee in the store’s sporting goods department. Simmons added that he thought it was odd that someone wanted bullets that badly so early in the morning.

“I kind of felt uneasy, to be honest with you,” Simmons told investigators.

There weren’t any 9-millimeter bullets up front at the sporting goods counter. Loughner ordered Simmons to check in the back. From a distance, Simmons shouted to Loughner that they didn’t have any of those bullets, according to documents.

“Did you have 9-millimeter ammo?” FBI Agent Jeff Luna asked.

“We did,” Simmons said, explaining that he found some bullets of that caliber, but only looked for them after Loughner left. “I just [thought], ‘I’m not going to give you ammo.'”

A few hours after the shooting, law enforcement officials searched the Loughner family home, including a safe from Loughner’s room.

Inside, they found a gun lock, a book called “The Anarchist Cookbook,” and an envelope with a Glock serial number written on it and two spent cartridge castings inside. On the envelope was writing.

“I could specifically see the name of Jared and Giffords,” one investigator reported. “It also appeared to say words to the effect of, I planned ahead my assassination, these are the first two shells of my gun.” The note was dated Dec. 6, 2010, a month before the killings.

 

Carrie Fisher’s “Bipolar Incident” Shows Progress in Fighting Stigma

 

Taken from   NAMI  which is located   HERE.

Carrie Fisher is much more than the actress who played Princess Leia in the Star Wars movies.

“I have a chemical imbalance that, in its most extreme state, will lead me to a mental hospital,” the actress said in a television interview in 2001, disclosing that she lives with bipolar disorder.

“I am mentally ill. I can say that. I am not ashamed of that.”

“I survived that. I am still surviving it.”

The disclosure led to NAMI honoring Fisher with its Purdy Award, presented each year to a person who has made a national contribution toward ending the stigma and discrimination that surrounds mental illness.

Fisher’s words are now echoing across more than a decade, after she was hospitalized on Feb. 24, following a bipolar episode during a performance on a Caribbean cruise ship.

There was a brief frenzy in the news media. Fisher had appeared drunk, slurring words and singing off key. But the tone of the news coverage seemed somehow different than that surrounding other celebrity misfortunes.

It seemed to reflecting greater understanding that bipolar disorder is a medical condition.

An ABC News headline called the story a “bipolar incident.”

“There was a medical incident related to Carrie Fisher’s bipolar disorder. She went to the hospital briefly to adjust her medication and is feeling much better now,” said a representative of the actress—who was carefully quoted in news accounts.

Bipolar disorder can be managed, but it can’t be cured.

In 2008, Fisher published a humorous memoir Wishful Drinking that includes her struggle with mental illness. She then turned it into a stage performance and an HBO documentary.

“Having waited my entire life to get an award for something…I now get awards all the time for being mentally ill, she wrote in the book.

“I’m apparently very good at it… It’s better than being bad at being insane, right? How tragic it would be to be runner-up for Bipolar Woman of the Year.”

But Fisher has also been deadly serious in raising public awareness about bipolar disorder.  She has compared the condition to fighting in Afghanistan.

“In this case the bombs and bullets come from the inside.”

Besides the pills that a person has to take, “they should issue medals.”

If news coverage of Fisher’s recent bipolar incident does indeed reflect a more informed shift in tone in the news media, at least part of the credit should go to her contributions to public education.

 

Lesson In Self-Harming: U.K. School Supervised Vulnerable Pupil As She Slashed Herself With Razors

Taken from   the  Mirror News   which is located   HERE.

A vulnerable pupil prone to self-harming was allowed to slash herself with razors while supervised by a teacher.

Staff gave the youngster sterilised blades and took her to a bathroom where she could carry out the ­mutilation in a “safe and controlled manner” before her wounds were cleaned and dressed.

But the policy was ditched after just a few days following an outcry by workers at the special school for pupils with Asperger’s and autism.

Principal Steve Dempsey and headteacher Laura Blair are being investigated by the Teaching Agency over allegations of unacceptable professional conduct.

The procedure sparked fury among mental health charities.

Young Minds said: “This policy could be misinterpreted as encouraging young people to self-harm.

“It’s misguided. It does not address the issues young people who  self-harm are grappling with.

“What schools should be doing is providing supportive environments where young people are encouraged to talk about how they feel and helped to get the right support.”

Several members of staff were understood to have protested against the supervised self-harm policy at Unsted Park School in Godalming, Surrey.

Some complained to Surrey county council’s Local Authority Designated Officer.

A spokesman for Priory Group, which runs Unsted, said: “We are always willing to review cases with the Teaching Agency.

“This was a short-term, local ­procedure introduced by the headteacher and school principal who genuinely believed it was in the best interests of the pupil.

“However, they accept it should not have been implemented without further approvals having been obtained from key stakeholders and senior management.”

The policy was launched in January last year but details of the incident involving the youngster have only now been made public.

Senior staff had ordered teachers to give her the razor blades.

According to the directive they were told to then wait outside the bathroom while the pupil was inside, checking on her every two minutes. The school teaches boys and girls aged seven to 19.

The Teaching Agency was unable to comment on the investigation.

The Department for Education said: “This is a deeply worrying allegation.

“The department commissioned an emergency inspection by Ofsted. It found some failings which we are working to rectify.”