Many of my blogs deal with mental health issues that are facing are nation and how advocates need to unite to start making a difference. Erasing the stigma is important so people aren’t afraid to seek help. People need to be educated as to where they can go to get help and know that there is hope and recovery if you have a mental illness.
Of course, once they seek out help, help needs to be there. The problem in many cases is that preventative care is not there and so people oftentimes end up having a psychotic episode. This usually results in the person having to go to the emergency room and/or jail. It is unfortunate because this could be avoided if there were places the mentally ill could go to seek treatment before they were in these extreme circumstances.
There are places that are starting to pop up in areas throughout the nation that focus on preventative facilities. There are some things in place where people can get help, but are put on waiting lists and spiral out of control before they get the help they need. In addition, primary care doctors are being trained to recognize symptoms and treat the body as a whole. By doing these things, the ERs would not be overcrowded with people waiting for psychiatric beds. If someone can get help before they are in crisis, they are not in need of the ER or a psychiatric bed.
So many things need to change when it comes to the the mental health system. However, we need to start somewhere. One thing I feel very strongly about is how the the media needs to use tragedies as ways to educate people about mental illness, not portray that all people with mental illnesses are violent. (My blog on the Role the Media is Playing)
I don’t have to tell you that there is an increase in suicide and violent crimes due to mental illness. It is unfortunate that these have to happen for people to talk about mental illness. The unfortunate thing is that so many times the talk turns to gun violence and not the inadequacy with mental health care system. With the recent shooting by Virginia’s State Senator Creighton Dee’s son hopefully this will strengthen the case that the mental health system needs to change.
On Thursday, December 12,2013 Pennsylvania’s Congressman Tim Murphy will be proposing a bill that will be a step in the right direction. He will propose that more “is done to change treatment from imminent danger to needs care. He hopes to increase inpatient beds, treatment standards and remove legal barriers preventing parents and guardians from speaking to doctors.” Mike Tobin from Fox News stated.
Note:At the time I wrote this blog, I was not able to find the details of the legislation. The press release is now included below. s
I was delighted to hear Mike Tobin from Fox News cover this story the way he did. He did a great job explaining the situation of our mental health care, some of the reasons why we are in the situation we are in , and some hope that we can get out of it.
It was refreshing for Mr. Tobin to say that the talk is not about gun control this time, but the inadequacy of the mental health system. He spoke about how Cook County Jail is the largest mental health care facility in America. Many people who have a mental illness can’t find the help they need so they self-medicate, have psychotic episodes that land them in jail instead of a psychiatric hospital, or they commit small crimes ending them up in jails.
One prisoner Mike Tobin interviewed said that even though he did not like going to jail, he would at least get the medications he needed. The new legislation, states: “The treatment is accessed not through the criminal justice system but the healthcare system.”
Many people are repeat offenders, but with the proper treatment for their mental illnesses, they would have a better chance of staying out of jail and even becoming productive citizens.
I hope that Fox News continues to put some importance on covering stories like this and others will follow suit.
I know that one of the things that needs to happen to change things is those who are mental health advocates have to a larger voice. In order for that to happen, we need to join forces. For ideas please join a newly formed FB Group.
(Washington, DC) – Congressman Tim Murphy (PA-18) is holding a press conference on Thursday, December 12th at 9:45 a.m. in Studio A of the House Radio-Television Correspondents’ Gallery in the House Visitors Center, room 114 to introduce a legislative package of major mental health reforms.
This highly anticipated legislation comes after a year-long investigation led by House Energy & Commerce Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Murphy into the nation’s broken mental health system. Through his O & I Subcommittee meetings, forums, and hearings, Dr. Murphy’s legislative initiative will address: increasing inpatient and outpatient treatment options; clarifying standards used to commit an individual to medical care; updating legal framework to help families and physicians communicate during crisis; moving towards data-driven, evidence-based models of care so treatment is accessed not through the criminal justice system but the healthcare system.
WHAT: Mental health legislation press event
WHO: Congressman Tim Murphy (PA-18), Chairman of Energy & Commerce Oversight & Investigations
WHEN: Thursday, December 12, 2013
WHERE: House Radio-Television Correspondents’ Gallery, House Visitors Center
HVC-114, Studio A