What happened to the mental health hospitals?
Whenever there is a tragic mass shooting in this country, the blame is directed towards guns. The issue in this country is not the guns. The issue that no one wants to address is mental health. What happened to the mental health hospitals? Where are people to go who need them? The ACLU has played a major role in the abolishment of these hospitals. The ACLU eliminated most state run mental hospitals. Now they are crying about these patients ending up in prison. Inmates with severe mental illness wait several years in county prisons to be moved to a mental health facility. These inmates are unconstitutionally jailed, according to the ACLU. The ACLU wants them moved. Too Where? They closed the facilities without a plan.
CMS.gov states, there is at least 1 facility in each state for intermediate care for people with intellectual disabilities. These patients have a host of other problems along with their mental illness. They put emphasis on these people controlling their own lives, living in their own home, and being part of the community. Sounds like the ACLU plan. This is why there are very few mental health facilities that offer residential care.
What are these patients to do? People who are mentally ill have little to no options. The ACLU and others took their options away. When they closed the state hospitals, they should have had a plan in place. These people are homeless and in jails. When they closed the hospitals, did they think the streets or jail was more humane? Living in the elements and not having anything to eat or drink sounded better? These people, many times, do not even understand that they are ill. How do people expect them to work, keep a roof over their head, pay bills, and eat? They can’t do it. Yet people and organizations like the ACLU feel these people are better off not in a hospital or facility because that is mean. The patients rights have been violated. Give them their right to live on their own, on the streets, that’s better.
The idea that these patients live on their own and in control of their own life is nice. It is in some cases, a fantasy. There are people in the United States that are unable to take care of themselves. It is horribly sad. You can’t change that fact. The facts are the facts and wanting them to be different will not change them. wesayitoutloud.com says this frequently because there are those who think that by changing someone’s feelings will change the actual facts, not so.
The ACLU and others say these mentally ill people have rights. They don’t have any idea that they are even sick and they can’t live alone. It sounds harsh to say, but maybe they don’t have rights. What about the rights of every other human on the planet? Mentally ill people now have the right to live on the street. They get hungry and commit a crime to get food. They beat a woman walking down the street to take her purse. Where were her rights? They rob a store. Where is the store owners rights? It is completely unfair to put all of society at risk for one person who doesn’t understand right form wrong. If these people don’t understand that they are sick, do you think they understand they have rights? What kind of rights, the right to live on the street? It makes no sense.
Wouldn’t it be better to have mentally ill people in a safe place? They need a place where they won’t go hungry. Somewhere they are out of the elements and are not cold. Shouldn’t they be able to get the medical treatment they need? The mentally ill need to be in a safe place where someone can monitor their medications. Someone to make sure they take it and in the right dosage. Many mentally ill don’t think they need medicines and don’t take them. The mentally ill think they are fine, when they are not.
Doesn’t it make sense that by keeping the mentally ill safe, you are keeping everyone else safe as well? Not according to the ACLU and others who believe this is in someway cruel. Explain that to the victims of crimes. Now that you have turned a mentally unstable person lose on society, is it their right to become a murderer? Tell that to the families of the victim. The victims and the victims families have no rights? The mentally ill person has all the rights. What is sad is that the mentally ill person, turned criminal, doesn’t understand what he/she has even done wrong. Now they end up in a prison. They had a right to go to prison? Is that their right?
the first facilities
The names for the hospitals were terrible. Insane asylum or even just asylum sounds creepy. Lunatic Asylum is another ominous name. Visions of patients wondering around in hallways in straight jackets come to mind. In 1752, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, accommodations for the mentally ill were made in it’s hospital. They put rooms in the basement with shackles attached to walls. In 1768, Williamsburg, Virginia, established the first mental hospital. It’s name was the “Public Hospital for Persons of Insane and Disordered Minds.” Some of these closed hospitals are now said to be haunted. That was 270 years ago. It doesn’t need to be the same now as it was then.
in the 1960’s
In the 1960’s laws changed that limited state and local officials abilities to admit the mentally ill into mental health hospitals. Mental health programs suffered budget cuts from the state and federal government. The result was the closure of psychiatric hospitals. The last bill John F. Kennedy signed on Oct. 31, 1963, before his death was a mental health bill. It would “free” thousands from a life in institutions. They were then going to build 1500 out-patient community based centers. The hospitals were said to have inadequate treatment and offered the patients isolation. The patients were locked in like prison. Kennedy’s legislation is still celebrated today. Well, now many are in actual prison. Doesn’t seem like that needs to be celebrated.
Even today with bipartisan support for mental health issues, there has been no resolution to this massive problem. They can build all the community based centers that they want, but this will not help those who are not capable of taking care of themselves. There is always talk of out-patients services. They can’t keep ignoring the fact that some patients need full time hospitalization for their safety as well as the safety of others.
Wisconsin’s mental health hospital
The Mendota Mental Health Institute in Madison, Wisconsin, is still open. At it’s peak, in the 1950’s, it housed more that 2500 patients. There are now fewer than 300. The residents of this hospital are ordered there through the criminal justice system. One patient ordered there, a 33 year old, murdered a 21 year old. He was found not competent to stand trial. Someone shouldn’t need to lose their life in order to get a mentally ill person help. Not just help, but off the streets. What happened to the rights of the 21 year old?
Many private hospitals don’t accept insurance. Private hospitals can cost $30,000 a month. Many of these patients only have Medicaid. Law prevents the federal government from paying for long term institutionalized care. How do they expect mentally ill people to get help and or pay for it? Why do people need to be hurt or die before something is done about mental health in this country? How many people need to suffer, be homeless, or go hungry? Politicians talk about homeless every election. Is the reason it’s never addressed later because they don’t know how to deal with the mental health aspect of homelessness? Is the reason the federal government doesn’t want to pay for long term care because organizations like the ACLU will stop them? How do these organizations even get to have a say unless they have an alternative plan, like housing them themselves?
Pres. Trump said, “part of the problem is we used to have mental institutions……where you take a sicko like this guy.” There was a mass shooting in Florida. Pres. Trump was criticized for his statements. Trump wanted the topic of opening mental hospitals again to be taken serious. He was right! There is a huge need to have institutions for the mentally ill. To quote Spock from Star Trek, ” The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” Society has a right to be safe.
There is a stigma with mental illness. Attitudes have changed dramatically and the days of keeping people locked up in cages or shackled to walls are over. Something positive can be done. There needs to be mental health long term care facilities. The mentally ill do not have to live in the cages of the past. Hospitals need not look like jail cells.
24 hour intensive care?
There are very few mental hospitals left in the United States. So few, we couldn’t get an accurate number. There is in-patient care facilities that keep people for 24 hours. In-patient care is the most intensive treatment for people…. for 24 hours? 24 hours for the most severe mental health cases? All the concern with the mentally ill is to integrate them into society. No one wants to address those who will never be able to do this. It seems that putting them on the street to starve is the answer. Isn’t that far more humane than having them live in a facility?
Instead of these community based facilities that were never built, why not new hospitals? No longer do they need to be called insane asylums or institutions. They would be hospitals. They could have nice rooms like at a nursing home. A room that looks like a room in an actual house. If a patient is dangerous to themselves or others, the door could be locked. It doesn’t need to look like they are locked in a jail cell or a cage. These hospitals could be nice and are far better than living on the streets. The patients would receive the healthcare they desperately need. Would that not be better for the patient as well as society? If the cost is to great for new facilities, why not apartment complexes or apartment buildings being converted. Older hospitals or buildings converted into nice places for the mentally ill to be housed and cared for sounds better than the streets or jail.
There seems to be a recent jump in the amount of shootings. This is tragic. It is tragic for everyone, the victims, victims families, and yes the shooter and the shooters family. It is not the fault of the gun. The shooting yesterday in Texas was politicized as soon as the story was released. Politicians used the shooting as an excuse for taking away guns within minutes of hearing the story. How about some encouraging words from our political representatives? Maybe some sympathy for the victims and their families would have been appropriate.
Anyone who can commit a crime as heinous as a mass shooting, clearly has some kind of mental illness. Normal healthy individuals do not gun people down unless maybe in self defense. These mass shooters have something seriously wrong. People around them may have had clues. If they did know this person is unstable, then what? What are they to do? There is no help out there. It’s always said, “someone had to know.” Well if they did, then what? This country has made it impossible to get people the help they need. Until they fix that there will continue to be tragedies.
wesayitoutloud.com’s thoughts and prayers go out to all the families involved in the Texas shooting yesterday as well as all the other recent shootings