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S/O--Mental Health care in this country.

With all of this "Why did Sandy Hook happen?" debate, I'd like to give an example of mental health care in the US. (spin off of the gun control topic)

My mom's cousin is a paranoid schizophrenic. He did well on his meds, but meds need to be adjusted from time to time. He was going down hill and decided that his medications was poison and the government wanted to kill him. He refused to take meds. He lost his job and his home. His parents wanted to try to help and took him in under the condition he take his medications. He agreed, but apparently lied. His parents became increasingly aware of his erratic behavior and tried to get help. Several times. They were refused help as HE refused the help because he thought the government was trying to kill him and so far he had not done anything to hurt himself or others.

My aunt and uncle began to fear for their lives and they tried to get him out of the house. He refused to leave. They called the cops to ask what they could do, but as there wasn't a lease and as that was his permanent address they had little they could do. They were trying to find a way to get out of this situation when their son went completely off the deep end and thought that his father had been recruited by the government and was planning to kill him and attacked my uncle, stabbing him 9 times in the back and chest with a piece of glass he had broken.

My uncle survived, but has been in poor health ever since. Their son is now in prison. None of this would have happened if my aunt and uncle had been listened to and had their son been forced to get help instead of being able to reject it because he didn't want it.

In addition, many people were surprised this happened as his 'illness' was kept a secret. So, you don't always know who is living with a mental illness.

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Asked by layh41407 at 1:43 PM on Dec. 27, 2012 in Politics & Current Events

Level 36 (79,415 Credits)
Answers (24)
  • Well said. I'm sorry that happened to your family.

    Answer by maecntpntz219 at 1:55 PM on Dec. 27, 2012

  • Thank you for sharing this, OP. I'm sorry your family had to go though that. I can tell you from experience that what you have told here is far more common than people want to admit. What's sad is that no one wants to do anything about it because it doesn't effect them (or so they think).

    I know this is not a popular view, but I often wonder if better access should include the ability for family to have the option to admit a family member indefinitely if things reach a certain point. I know that's a slippery slope, and we don't want people committed for indiscriminate reasons, but some people need extra assistance in maintaining a regular schedule for meds, etc. If we had assisted living facilities for those with mental illness, maybe that would help too... idk, something needs to change.

    Answer by anime_mom619 at 2:02 PM on Dec. 27, 2012

  • I have a scary scenario for you
    My Uncle is a paranoid schizophrenic. MOST of the time he takes his meds. He's told to not drink,but does(of course,right?)
    He's highly violent. If you piss him off(and the reasons vary as the day goes on),he threatens you with physical violence,throws things,smashes things,and scariest of all,he has a 45 pistol.
    My grandma tried to get him institutionalized when he was young,but was told that if he was stable on meds(meaning didn't get arrested),there was nothing they could do
    He's one day away from killing someone. The cops can't search his home,or his person, for the gun, unless they have a reason.
    So basically we wait for him to go on a rampage for something to be done.
    No one can force him to take his meds

    Answer by butterflyblue19 at 2:13 PM on Dec. 27, 2012

  • The schizophrenic in our family was put on mandatory meds after he beat the shit out of his own mother. For the 6 years he was on probation he was nearly normal, had normal conversations, bathed regularly, didn't try to hurt anyone. Once his probation was over and they stopped forcibly giving him his monthly meds, He quit taking them, and now it's basically waiting for him to hurt someone again so they can put him back in jail and on meds. There are no other options. Even on disability and with medicaid, they don't have room to do more than a 3 day hold if he gets dangerous enough - he's been back in jail since, but not for anything "mean" enough (yet) to warrant mandatory meds again.

    In the meantime he has "friends" who take advantage of him - homeless and addicts who talk him out of all the things bought for him, because they know how to play him and convince him they're on his side. Not legal to stop them, either.

    Answer by NotPanicking at 2:23 PM on Dec. 27, 2012

  • it's hard to get mental health assistance for anybody unless that person is at an immediate risk for hurting himself or others. Insurance companies don't want to pay for therapy. We'll keep seeing violence in our society till mental health becomes a priority.

    Answer by Ballad at 2:23 PM on Dec. 27, 2012

  • unless that person is at an immediate risk for hurting himself or others.

    Even then, assistance isn't "assistance". It's a 3 day bandaid hoping everyone forgets about it before they're put on the street again.

    Answer by NotPanicking at 2:25 PM on Dec. 27, 2012

  • "Even then, assistance isn't "assistance". It's a 3 day bandaid hoping everyone forgets about it before they're put on the street again. "

    And many times, as long as the person contracts for safety, the hold is released before the 3 days are up. There are not enough resources for ERs and hospitals, etc. to keep everybody on M1 hold, and so patients are sent off with bus tokens and some booklets of useless information, and the hope that the contract for safety will actually work. Case workers hate it, family members hate it, but there's absolutely nothing to be done about it until we start really talking about it.

    Answer by anime_mom619 at 2:44 PM on Dec. 27, 2012

  • It is very true that u don't always know. My own brother is schizophrenic. He takes meds but is 27 and never finished school and never had a job. He lives with our parents and i have pretty much lost hope for him to have a productive life all because my parents' generation didn't understand mental illness and even with all the education today, it still has a stigma.

    Not everyone who is diagnosed as mentally ill is. A former friend of mine tried to commit suicide and was diagnosed as bipolar. I think he actually only had a mental breakdown as he has had a productive life since then without meds. His bipolar diagnosis ruined his military career. I went to numerous doctors visits with him and once while he was still on meds the doc changed his meds and he ended up suicidal again. I blame the doc and the fact that psychology isn't an a exact science.

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:47 PM on Dec. 27, 2012

  • My sister has been in and out of hopitals and jail for years- was FINALLY made a ward of the state-so we thought things would be better with them checking on her and such, but when se decided she needed her meds adjusted and wanted to see her doctor-and couldn't get an appointment and couldn't get the person in charge of her to do anything...she lost it-set her bed on fire -got scared and left...6 aptartments (I think it was) were burned-thank goodness no one was hurt. They found her- arrested her and kept her until they deemed she was not fit for trial...then they let her out to live in a group home. The system IS jacked up- she has been diagnosed since she was like 13 yrs old. She also punched my mom in the face once while she(mom) was trying to make a left-hand turn...and she has run cars into walls and *and so much more

    Answer by charlotsomtimes at 4:34 PM on Dec. 27, 2012

  • *UGH- typos!
    forgive them ; )

    Answer by charlotsomtimes at 4:38 PM on Dec. 27, 2012

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