The State of Mental Health

JACK NICHOLSON IN "THE SHINING"

Every time we hear of another mass shooting in public venues like the show, mall, school or work where people are killed or injured, we fear if not for the grace of
God it could’ve been me. And, usually these killings are by a mentally deranged person, usually male.  It’s sad!  The state of mental health in this country is terrible.  It’s very difficult for the mentally ill to get help.

Unfortunately, in the 1960s the mental health industry moved away from inpatient institutionalization to community based mental health facilities through federal funding known as the Community Mental Health Act (CMHA) of 1963. I don’t think its working too well and it should be reconsidered.  The states were eager to get rid of the state mental health hospitals because they were expensive to run.  In my area we had 3 mental health hospitals and various hospitals who admitted the mentally ill but that’s not the case since the CMHA Act.

Now, we see the mentally ill downtown roaming the streets or living under bridges and they are scary.  I observed a Black mentally ill man directing 5 o’clock traffic in the heart of downtown.  He was dressed in army fatigues.  As we were standing at the crowded bus stop, he walks up to an older, tall and distinguished white man in a suite and gives him a nose to nose salute and walks away.  The white man was cool and calm never made a move or said anything.  I was glad to know my car would be fixed the next day and I don’t have to witness such craziness up close.
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We need to address mental health in this country.  Usually, someone knows the person is crazy before they go and commit a mass murder.  Are these people hands tied to do anything?  Like the parents who tried to get help for their 18 year old son and the facility put them off.  Within days, this 18 year old stabbed his twin brothers killing one of them.  I had a friend whose boyfriend had mental issues.  She and his sister took him to a mental health facility and they didn’t want to admit him as an inpatient.  The women knew he was in a bad way so they sneaked out and left him there.  Later that night, the hospital gave him a cab to get home and he went to a bar and tried to throw the junk box across the room.  He was arrested and place in the county jail where they eventually sent him to a mental health facility.
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I know the mentally ill have rights but don’t we have rights too!

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