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News & Politics News & Politics

Man Brutally Attacked by Son Pushes for Mental Health Reform

Posted by on Jan. 10, 2014 at 9:41 AM
  • 8 Replies

Man Brutally Attacked by Son Pushes for Mental Health Reform

by Rebecca Stokes


Creigh DeedsWhen Virginia Senator Creigh Deeds returned to the Senate floor this week, it was an emotional experience for everyone involved -- especially for Deeds himself. It was the Senator's first time back at work since his mentally ill son, Gus Deeds, attacked him, stabbing him in the face, before taking his own life with a gun.

How anyone can ever begin to overcome such a two-fold tragedy is beyond me. Deeds has demonstrated tremendous strength throughout this ordeal. He's also been admirably candid about Gus's struggles and about just how devastating the loss of his son, to whom he was so close, has been to him and his entire family.

Deeds has been vocal about the details surrounding the breakdown that preceded Gus's attack on his father and himself. The day of the incident, Gus had been released from a state-run facility where he'd been remanded into emergency custody after just six hours. Why the quick release? Because the facility did not have a bed for the troubled 24-year-old. Imagine how differently things could have turned out if the hospital had kept Gus even overnight.

Deeds has said publicly that this was a mistake on the hospital's part. It's spurred him into action to re-evaluate the broken medical system that has a role in the events that took his son's life. I can think of no more admirable way of confronting the past that has left him with scars both physical and emotional.

I can't imagine the strength it must take on Deeds' part to turn this tragedy into opportunity. It will be interesting to see how his past experiences impact his return to politics. It sounds like he has every intention of doing what he can so that no other families have to experience that pain and heartbreak that he endured.

What measures do you think Deeds could take to help others with mental illness?

by on Jan. 10, 2014 at 9:41 AM
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Replies (1-8):
JoJoBean8
by Silver Member on Jan. 10, 2014 at 10:06 AM
1 mom liked this

Good we need more mental health help in this country. 

shadowmoon
by on Jan. 10, 2014 at 10:39 AM

I don't think there is enough help for the mentally ill in this country.  There's also the stigmitzation of mentally ill that make some people not seek help when they should get it. Perhaps there should be long-term facilities for those who are have a history of violence and refuse to take their meds

http://freedomborders.blogspot.com

Ziva65
by Bronze Member on Jan. 10, 2014 at 11:09 PM

It's a hard one. Our neighbor is dealing with similar issues with his son, but they pay significantly to keep him in a private institution, and are his conservators. We are thankful they have him there, the police next door once when he attacked his dad was one too many times. People however have to have resources to do that.

The catch is who will pay for it... the other element of the population for which it is a problem are seniors who have a psych diagnosis (not  demenita, but something like bipolar, etc.). Many psych facilities don't take seniors, and many nursing homes don't accept them if thier primary dx is psychiatric... sort of a catch 22.

diaperstodating
by on Jan. 10, 2014 at 11:14 PM
Bump
PinkButterfly66
by Bronze Member on Jan. 11, 2014 at 6:58 PM

Insurance companies need to cover mental health the way they do regular health.  There needs to be more inpatient facilities for the mentally ill and insurance companies need to cover how many days or months of inpatient treatment that a person needs.  I've seen so many posts here of moms with kids who are obviously mentally ill but they cannot get their insurance companies to pay for the treatment their kids need.  

VoodooVixen
by Bronze Member on Jan. 11, 2014 at 8:34 PM

Mental health issues are so often overlooked or ignored because the illnesses are invisible.  You can't see where it hurts and have to imagine what it is like to be that person.  That is hard for people to do today.  We live in a society that lacks empathy.  He needs to tell his story.  Maybe then he can take the fractured pieces and put them together to get a comprehensive look at what happened and the warning signs that were there but so often go completely overlooked.

Kate_Momof3
by Platinum Member on Jan. 12, 2014 at 8:58 AM

 A woman in a neighboring town was brutally killled by her severely ill son a few weeks ago. It was so gruesome that it made international headlines and was briefly sensationalized in the local media until something more awful came along.

What people forget with these all too commone stories, including Aurora and Newtown, is that there are real communities that struggle with mentally ill citizens and the aftermath of their actions. Our towns are devastated. She was a very well-loved friend to many, but she didn't have the resources or the support she needed to protect herself from her son.

And, to be completely honest, her son's story is eerily much like Adam Lanza's. And that scares the crap out of me.

lancet98
by Bronze Member on Jan. 12, 2014 at 9:17 AM

 

Quoting shadowmoon:

I don't think there is enough help for the mentally ill in this country.  There's also the stigmitzation of mentally ill that make some people not seek help when they should get it. Perhaps there should be long-term facilities for those who are have a history of violence and refuse to take their meds

 Many of the people with severe mental illness, won't seek help, in fact they will actively refuse it, because they can't understand that they are ill.   

For these people, it's not about 'availablity of help' at all - the staff would treat it as an emergency and clear the decks if they wanted treatment.   But they're too sick to want it.

I'm trying right now, to talk someone into going and getting some help - no one will intervene.   Evidently she is 'not suicidal enough' even for a 72 hour hold.   She is really being tortured by her psychotic symptoms and the 'voices' tell her they will torture her to death if she gets help.   I was up most of the night thinking about her, couldn't sleep.   She's just a young woman.   Til a few months ago she had a job and was a really good student before that.   This illness has hit her really fast and hard.

The only solution she can see is to kill herself.  She hopes then, the torture will end.   She asked me if the voices will still plague her after she is dead.    What she's going through is horrible but she can't put it together that treatment will help - she literally cannot figure it out, her brain just can't do that.

If she got on appropriate medication, these symptoms would be gone within 48-72 hours.

Most of them aren't violent to others - though they run a very high risk of harming themselves.   I don't agree with 'let's let them get really sick, watch them become violent, and then charge them with a crime and complain about how awful they are...and if they don't get violent, let's just let them rot and die in the streets'.   I don't agree with that.   That's basically what we do now.

I believe in prevention, which means everyone with a severe(psychotic) mental illness is required to take medication.   The medications for that type of disorder, now are better and safe, so that this isn't an unfair requirement.

 I don't think all violence of the mentally ill is the sensational kind - in fact that's a very small minority.  

Many have simply gotten into a shoving match, yelled at people, punched someone, or injured one person, usually a relative or spouse.  We don't seem to care unless they kill several people at once.   The rest we don't notice.  

But even when there is a mass killing, we don't make any changes, we just beat our chests about locking everyone with any mental illness up, or giving more people guns.  

 ALL the mass shootings of recent times were committed by people who had multiple interactions with mental health professionals, most of them had a long history of threatening behavior and disruptive behavior.   MOST of them psychiatrists had BEGGED hospitals to keep in the hospital long enough to get them stable, and to give them intense case management after so it doesn't happen again. 

Hospital admins don't listen.   They discharge.   I've had some very, very sick friends who were in real danger, to themselves or to others, and were discharged because they refused treatment, and wound up deteriorating or dying.

Most state laws, however, are written to allow for the really sick person who is unsafe without treatment, or could become unsafe.   Like I said they don't all need to be hospitalized forever, they can be in the community, but they need much more intense case management than they get.

Loved ones often have to use the various mild misdemeanor crimes people commit, to try to get the court to order treatment for them. 

That's where it falls down.   The court doesn't insist people stay with medication.  

There are 2 types of involuntary treatment - inpatient or outpatient.   Either can work.  People need what they need, some need inpatient treatment permanently, some need it only for a while, and so on.

Deed's son had a long history of severe mental illness.   Even he could not get involuntary treatment for his son.   His son was just sick - his emotions and behavior were not within his control.   I'm sure his son was a perfectly nice person when he was on medication. 

But many just are too sick to stay on medication without help.  

Since many medications work for a month, they only have to check in to a nurse once a month, but in many cases, we don't even do that. 

It's kind of weird, to be honest, that we do nothing and then complain about how it turns out.   It's kind of stupid, in fact.

It's not at all that they are 'in denial' - they really can't tell they're sick.   The part of their brain that would tell them that, isn't working, as a result of the disease.

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