What happens when we leave people with psychosis to their demons? Ask the families of Alison Russo-Elling, Nathaniel Rivers, and Michelle Go.
Cruelty, under the guise of caring, is the hallmark of the left today.
My father was a dentist in a VA hospital for the mentally ill.
When Pennsylvania started allowing patients to sign out with no physician approval in the 1970’s dad said they’d injure and kill others.
And so they did.
They still do.
Yet somehow their “right” to roam free is more important than accosted and murdered innocent human beings.
So this isn’t a new problem. This is self-induced lunacy by government fiat and truly a destructive political stunt.
I’m unclear how people sworn to uphold the constitution can deliberately harm people directly or indirectly by inaction.
There's a theme in all this. Absolute ignorance of REAL human fallibility driven by fallible, gullible, moral narcissists: "Powerful groups have effectively prevented dangerously mentally ill people from getting treatment." The same ilk that insist cutting off your kids' secondary sex organs is "saving" them. The same useful idiots behind defunding the police. And on and on and on. This is about THEM. Their moral superiority. It's NOT about ensuring the best outcome for everyone.
Last year on the day after Thanksgiving, I was attacked on the subway by a schizophrenic, whose vitriol included that I deserve to die for being white and he was just the hero who would eradicate me and my fellow white people from the face of the earth. He spat all over me between stations. To this day, I will never understand how such a clearly deranged, enraged person somehow withstood the palpable urge to beat me to death.
But the trauma this would cause anyone is no concern of the morally superior.
Another case in point: I gave a talk on dying alone and ending up in a potter's field, with two case studies on how this happened. The (mostly white, female) audience felt no compassion because -- ironically -- the women who died alone and unclaimed where white. They immediately returned the discussion to inmates, about whom they "care" much more -- despite the fact that inmates don't actually die alone in their bathtubs with no one to notice until the building starts to stink. The other interesting feature was that they were completely ignorant to this as THEIR future, and defied my suggestions on how to prevent it (get married, have kids). Those they want to "save" won't be there for them in the end, but they seem oblivious to this.
Somehow, some way, we have to stop listening to these busy bodies.
I've noticed those who peacock their Compassion® are interested almost exclusively in faraway problems or historical problems or contrived problems. And never the real, immediate, this-requires-I-do-something problems.
Excellent article. I appreciate how Shellenberger always offers/includes potential answers to the slew of problems he identifies. That’s increasingly rare today.
Proponents of common sense have to get louder than the small group of radicals currently calling the shots. Kendra’s law is common sense. New Yorkers need to push past the fear of being called “insensitive” or “uncaring” and demand more implementation of the laws and resolutions already on the books. Articles like this are a good way to get that ball rolling. I’d bet money that most New Yorkers don’t even know that forced treatment is even a potential option.
Charlene McCray , (Bill DiBLasio's) wife oversaw 850 million to help the mentally ill in NYC. The money vanished and the mentally ill issue in the city got worse. Of course the money didn't;t vanish, it was transferred to organizations, supervisors , committees, ad campaigns and a host of others who looted the money but didn't provide help.
How do you expect to begin to address this when America has elected (maybe) a snarling, demented person to be its leader? (OK got that off my chest).
This is yet another failure of progressive governance. Given that most of these people have committed crimes already, they should be in detention. Arguably in treatment rather than jail. But our progressive friends are committed to springing them no matter what. Thank you George Soros for the progressive prosecutors your cash has installed to destabilize America and make it a far less safe place. This is no accident.
Oh and for those proggies who weep that we can't incarcerate these people, I have an idea with universal application. Just as with the illegal immigrants they force on us, make them accept one of these lunatics into their homes. To house, feed and care for them. Want to see things change quickly? Instead they press a dollar in the hands of a crazy, violence prone NYC vagrant and feel virtuous the rest of the day.
As the mother of a son suffering with schizophrenia for 20 years I read this article with great interest. I’ll add my two cents in agreeing that the mental health system in this country is practically nonexistent. When my son was stricken at age 19, and after his initial release from hospital, he was referred to a community mental health center and, ironically, those visits were not covered by our insurance! He had to see a private psychiatrist (of which there were NONE in our local community) in order to be covered. He hates the way the prescribed medications make him feel (sleepy and fuzzy headed) and I’m sure if he lived on his own he’d stop taking them. Lucky for us he is a gentle giant and a truly sweet guy, but unfortunately this is not the reality for most families with a mentally ill love one. He lives at home with us to this day and I fear what will happen to him when we are gone. I’d love to see mandated treatment at centers where patients can be followed for medication and given support through recreational opportunities with others like them. Isolation is a big issue for my son!
And yet we willingly spend so much money on needless elective care, questionable pharmaceuticals, cosmetic surgery, wildly overpriced, questionable and needless pharmaceuticals, prolonged end-of-life situations, and hey, let's start supporting those Munchausen-by-Proxy parents who want to turn their boys and girls into girl and boys (wait to you see the bills to deal with that fallout), but not a penny for true mental health needs.
I don't have a solution, but it's not like there isn't sufficient money being wasted in out current health system, as well as, the extraordinary amount of money being wasted in Federal and State budgets to take care of the costs of dealing with outpatient and/or inpatient care.
Let’s build homeless camps in front of ACLU headquarters all over the country.
While I have mixed-feelings about forced hospitalization, it's clear that there is something very, very broken and we need to find solutions. I had one experience that moved me from "government can't force the mentally ill into hospitals" (because of my libertarian streak) to being on the fence and leaning to maybe we should.
I went on a ride along with a Sacramento County sheriff's deputy a few years back. One of the calls was for a welfare check for a 20 year old female whose roommate said was suicidal. We found the woman walking along a narrow median on a very busy street. Between the call and finding her, the deputy learned that she was a repeat customer, that law enforcement had been called multiple times to talk to her and/or take her to the hospital. She was on medication (I do not remember specifically what, and I may not have been told). The deputy talked her into walking with him to the safe side of the street and then he talked to her calmly to determine if she was suicidal. She swore at him but basically he came away with feeling she was a threat to herself (or others if she decided to jump in front of a car going 50 MPH.)
In Sacramento County, officers have to take mentally ill people to the emergency room. Deputies have to stay with them until a hospital security officer is available to take over. This can take hours. For us, it was about 90 minutes. I learned at that point that
1) There are no clinics to take adult mentality ill patients which are equipped with resources and staff and training to handle these people
2) Hospitals are overwhelmed with these people, need additional security and staff and often don't have the beds (hence requiring law enforcement to stay)
3) The young woman was a repeater -- the desk nurse said she was there almost every month. Why? Because she would take her meds, then believe she was cured and go off her meds, and within 72 hours become suicidal or violent. When she was on her meds, she could function, hold down a job, was a nice, pleasant person. When she was off her meds, she was the opposite. And yes, the nurse believed in her present condition she could have easily walked in front of a car. (As a mom of 5, I am now terrified that someone will walk in front of my kids while driving and even if it's not their fault, they will be devastated for life.)
So I don't know what the solution is, but we have to find solutions. It's not fair to society (the huge cost of this cycle -- cops, hospitals, people) and it's not fair to the mentally ill. You can not force people to take medication unless they are in a facility. It's not practical. But what happens to a woman like the above who may go in for a week or a month and is completely compliant and takes her meds and is now functional ... we can't keep her locked up forever, but when she gets out she will stop taking her meds.
It's a complex and serious problem. And society (particularly the government and those "experts" who think they know best) is paying for it in multiple ways, just like the homeless problem that has gotten completely out of control (and mental health issues and drugs contribute to it.) I commend Shellenberger for trying to find answers.
"Many reformers just wanted better funding and oversight, but other reformers were more radical, and proposed shutting the hospitals down entirely and replacing them with community-based clinics. Some reformers claimed that serious mental illnesses were the result of poverty and inequality, not biology, and argued that they could be cured through radical social change."
Ah, a functioning system that needed oversight and change over time based on new information and advances in brain chemistry and medicine gets unproven, radical ideas based on liberal utopian dreams of how they wished things were instead of how they really are. Hmmm, when have we seen this play out before in the US and other places? Oh, literally thousands of times because their worldview is distorted and denies the darkness that can spring up in the human mind. Yes people are capable of incredible things, but they are also capable of evil and living in denial will not offer workable solutions.
Whenever I read a story about someone being released after committing a violent crime, I comment ‘but at least nobody’s feelings were hurt or rights violated’.
Yes, flippant…but I think less so than the administrative response to the rights and feelings of the victims.
Several years ago a Yale professor on leave was arrested for attacking his husband in a domestic dispute. This was over Thanksgiving weekend, and his husband was a smaller Asian man. The professor died in police custody, and there were several demonstrations about how the police should treat gay men.
An autopsy showed the professor died of a drug overdose, nothing to do with the police, and there were neither apologies for the demonstrations nor concerns about the victim.
To his credit, Shellenberger touches all the bases in his discussion.
One of the most compelling things that I learned from Shellenberger’s book, San Fransicko, is that the ACLU is is one of the most fervent and influential opponents of any type of forced institutionalization for the mentally ill homeless. This is unfortunate because they have totally captured the policy space in a lot of progressive cities. So it doesn’t matter that the majority of thinking people believe it makes a lot more sense to institutionalize someone who is a danger to themselves and others than to let them sleep on the streets, when you have groups like the ACLU that oppose it politicians are often too afraid to upset them. Just look at how much the ACLU opposes Gavin Newsom’s plans to make it easier to institutionalize people.
"This is due largely to the influence of the American Civil Liberties Union, the New York Civil Liberties Union, and lesser-known disability rights advocacy organizations and coalitions, which have sought to de-fund psychiatry, de-police cities, and de-stigmatize untreated mental illness. "
One IdiotLiberal with a Law Degree is far more dangerous than a battalion of "gun enthusiasts"
My brother, who recently retired from policing in New York, constantly complained about the destabilizing impact the mentally unwell had on lower income neighborhoods, especially public housing projects. Middle class Americans see the homeless mentally ill that wander about, but they don't see the vast majority of them tucked away in low income public housing. On their best days, they are self sufficient and lucid, leading them to get jobs, form relationships, etc. These days are why optimistic liberals think that asylums are unjust, because it denies these people the opportunity to live normally. But then they go back off the rails, maybe they forget to take their medicine, or maybe they just get set off by their environment. My brother often said that half the domestic calls for public disturbances he dealt with were for mentally ill people who had no business living on their own. But the police aren't equipped to deal with that. Having a guy running around in tinfoil yelling about how the lizard people are coming to get him at 2AM isn't really a jailable offense, and what is accomplished by issuing an appearance ticket for court in 6 months? If they bring back the asylums, these areas would be more stable. Then the police could focus on actual criminals.