My Opinion on Involuntary Commitment and Conservatorships (For example, Amanda Bynes)

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This is not just a problem regarding Amanda Bynes  and her parents.  (Info on her parent’s fight) It is not just a problem that Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan’s parents faced.  It is an ongoing problem for many people with mental illnesses and their families.

It also played a role in Adam Lanza’s Newtown shooting. It is suspected that the reason he did it was because his mother had filed papers  and “Adam was aware of her petitioning the court for conservatorship and (her) plans to have him committed.” Ref1

In the case of the infamous mother who wrote “I am Adam Lanza’s mother”, she stated she was told by her son’s social worker that, she was told  the only thing she could do was to get Michael charged with a crime. “If he’s back in the system, they’ll create a paper trail, and that’s the only way you’re ever going to get anything done. No one will pay attention to you unless you’ve got charges.”  Isn’t that sad? She knew something was seriously wrong with her son and she couldn’t get the help she needed until her son was in a rage and said “Then I’m going to kill myself and injured his mother that he was committed.

It  is a problem people with many people who suffer from mental illnesses, including me.  There have been several occasions when I knew I was manic and needed help and couldn’t get it.  I knew that I was spiraling out of control. However, I could not honestly say I was a threat to myself or others and therefore couldn’t get admitted to the hospital. I had to actually get so manic that I did something really stupid before I would get hospitalized. Lucky for me, I never did anything illegal. However, I could have.  I did do a lot of things I am not proud of and could have been avoided if I had gotten the help I needed when I insisted that I did.

It was not just me knowing I needed to be admitted. It was my parents, friends, other loved ones, etc. that would insist that I needed to be involuntarily committed and their hands were tied too.

It should not be like this.  No one should have to wait until someone does something illegal or is so far gone to get help.

This was not just something I faced one or two times. This has happened to me several times in Florida and a handful of times in North Carolina. My parents, friends, loved ones, and I would insist that I needed help and would be turned away. Some times, I would get discharged from the hospital only to walk right back in and say I needed help.  That is just crazy and the system needs to be fixed.

It should not take someone to do something drastic when their loved ones are pleading with doctors that their child is really not right.  I am not blaming this on the doctors or the police. I am blaming it on the system. Something needs to change.

It should not take a tragedy or a celebrity to be in the public eye to get this issue in the forefront of the talk about mental illness. It should not be something that parents like mine have to face. The mental health system has several problems, but this one needs to be fixed as soon as possible.

In addition, I have to say I am upset with Britney, Lindsay, and now Amanda.  They could do so much to help others. Instead, they deny they have any problems. It is obvious they do. They might not know it or not think they do when they are sick. However, when they get better, they could help others and instead strengthen the stigma of mental illness. They can’t admit they have a problem so that perhaps others will seek out help. Instead, they act like it would be so awful if they had one. The stigma is another problem that people with mental illnesses face.  Just think about all the people that these three girls could help.

I  applaud Patrick Kennedy, Jesse Jackson, Glenn Close’s nephew and sister, Cavan Ace, Philip Green, Carrie Underwood,  Demi Lovato, Tessa Bonhomme, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Carrie Fisher, Patty Duke, Jewel, Willard Scott, Royce White, and numerous other celebrities who have spoken out about their mental illnesses. They are helping with the stigma and showing that it is ok to talk about mental illness. For more famous people who suffer from mental illnesses, click here and here2 .

We need more people like these to stand up and admit they have a problem. We also need to change the broken system including making it so family members and even the own patient can get the help they need before it is too late.

Contact your legislators in Congress. Thank those who are doing so much to help erase the stigma. There are many great organizations out there. You can also contact celebrities via Twitter, FB, or by sending them a letter. Let them know your concerns and/or appreciation for their efforts.