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Tears welled up in my eyes when I thought of this woman as a child; she was once someone's baby, fresh and clean with a world of possibilities.
The de-institutionalization of mental health hospitals that happened under President Carter's watch in 1955 is nothing short of criminal. Under the guise "rights" and "freedom" they were shut down (to save money) when they should have been reformed.
We desperately need more than voluntary community programs for our mentally ill. Especially those that don't have family support.
Here I sit editing photos of princesses and puppies and I cannot get this woman out of my mind. We are failing her. She needs to be committed for a period of time and stabilized and guess what??? There is NO PLACE for her. Unless she is currently a danger to her self or others, even an emergency room won't keep her. Currently a danger? They will only help for 72 hours. Not NEARLY enough time for ANY psychiatric medication to work.
I give my daughter the most magical childhood I can, but who would help her one day, were we to be gone, if she suffered from mental illness? Any child could end up like that woman, and we're lying to ourselves if we think that can't. Yes, some may be drug addicts...it's easier if we just think all of them are - but many are just mentally ill, through no fault of their own.
"Deinstitutionalization was based on the principle that severe mental illness should be treated in the least restrictive setting. As further defined by President Jimmy Carter's Commission on Mental Health, this ideology rested on "the objective of maintaining the greatest degree of freedom, self-determination, autonomy, dignity, and integrity of body, mind, and spirit for the individual while he or she participates in treatment or receives services."
Where was this woman's dignity? Is this least restrictive environment helping her at all?
"The "least restrictive setting" frequently turns out to be a cardboard box, a jail cell, or a terror-filled existence plagued by both real and imaginary enemies."
Every Mom in attendance at that tea could have instead given money to this woman and it wouldn't have made a damn bit of difference. She needs more than community outreach or charity. She needs help and a place to be cared for and given medication, involuntarily.
Mental institutions were taken away under the guise of "rights" and our government needs to bring them back.
"Deinstitutionalization has been a psychiatric Titanic. Their lives are virtually devoid of "dignity" or "integrity of body, mind, and spirit." "Self-determination" often means merely that the person has a choice of soup kitchens. The "least restrictive setting" frequently turns out to be a cardboard box, a jail cell, or a terror-filled existence plagued by both real and imaginary enemies."
Read this: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/asylums/special/excerpt.html