When will they eeeeeever learn?

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New update:: 12/04/2010 —- All my graphics have disappeared!!!  I suspect it has something to do with, well, I don’t have any idea what!!  I know some were hosted on a German server, so maybe it’s the Wikileaks Witch Hunt Effect….  Please be patient & read this post with the understanding that it is meant to be highly illustrated… Meanwhile, I’ll pull my hair out hunting down the graphics…. 😦

This was originally posted in October 2008. I decided to update it with an addendum & more current graphics, since it is just as relevant today as it was 2 years ago! Sigh… OK, here’s the deal.

Another mental hospital in NC has lost its federal funding. DUH!!!

This news runs right along side the article about the current gov’s wife flying around overseas   and otherwise spending money that belongs to NC taxpayers (not to mention the juicy State job she got with a outrageous salary… )

I’m a community shrink in NC. Of course I had to write a comment on that article – I kept this one brief: “I agree, codeblue. It’s not rocket science.  It’s a matter of compassion versus greed. Sad, no, despicable but true. The mentally ill, the staff at the hospitals & MH workers in the community get the shaft while the administration dances in the aisles of their airplanes and says let them eat pork. I’m sooo angry with the current administration that I, a hardened Democrat & mental health professional, voted for (AAKKKHHH!!) the Republican for Gov. The devil’s having snowball fights! We can only hope that the whirlwind of coming political changes (and the clear breeze of reason Obama represents) will drop a house on the Wicked Weasleys of the North (Carolina)…”

(((Multiple Sighs))) Alas, this debacle didn’t start this year – or last year – or even last decade. It’s the tragic consequence of a nation-wide decision peyote-chomping pot-smoking morons   made in the 1970s.  In a massive group hallucination, it was revealed to them that mentally ill people shouldn’t be in hospitals.  They should be free!  Free! Free! Free!~ (Oh sorry…)

The local communities would open wide their collective arms and embrace these poor oppressed beings, providing them with care and love and housing and doctors and medications and caseworkers and therapists…and dance ring-o-round-the -rosie  and sing happy songs. Quite a hallucination, Huh? Why did they think these people were in the hospital to begin with?

Granted, there were some who were unfairly warehoused, who really weren’t that severely ill or left in back wards.  This was NOT true for the vast majority of patients. NC was blessed with a system of state mental hospitals that were some of the most humane in the country.  Dix was a shining example. It became a community in itself.  Patients worked a farm, providing them with productive lives and occupations well suited to their situations.  They also ran the kitchens, recreational programs and pretty much operated at whatever level they were able.  All this in a setting of supervision and stability.

 

Then came the wonder drugs!  Lithium. Thorazine. More antipsychotics. More drugs for bipolar illness.  Shazaam!!  Another group hallucination – if we just give these patients medications, they’ll all be better and they can be normal and they can just see a doctor once a month and any child can grow up to be president of the united states and tinker bell and the tooth fairy are our friends…..  Yeah. Right.  Of course.  Why didn’t any one think of that before?  I love the tooth fairy!!  He tastes like chicken…. They missed the part about what happens when you evict people from the only home they’ve known for decades.  They missed the part where the patients have to get and actually take their medications.  They missed the part about no jobs in the community, no doctors, social workers, case managers, housing…..

 

Some of the more clear-thinking in the pack saw the need for mental health care in the communities (’cause believe me, there weren’t none!) and worked to set up the community mental health centers. North Carolina did a great good job of this (in terms of what was actually done, anyway).

Although totally inadequate to fill the entire gaping hole of need, the young idealistic psychiatrists   (cartoon :Jung at heart) (sry. Really wanted to use that cartoon!) and therapists provided as much care as they could to as many people as they could reach.  Case managers often had to drive miles out into the country to pick up indigent patients without transportation (none of those in NC, are there??), they held group sessions for patients when there weren’t enough docs to see them all individually.  There was substance abuse treatment.  In the best cases, there was coordination with other services for the patients, such as voc rehab and/or developmental disabilities.

They had their fingers in the dam.

Nothing went right in this misbegotten scheme from the very beginning. Disoriented people “liberated” from their “imprisonment” wandered into communities no more prepared to take care of them than to launch a rocket to Mars. Communities recoiled in horror that “those people” were returning.

They all rushed to provide housing and jobs and transportation and love… OH. Wait. That’s the wrong fairy tale….

More homeless. More slumlords. More slave-wage laborers. Aunt Mitzi returned to being locked in the back room. Medication?  Doesn’t that cost money? Why should they take it? Insight does not mix well with mental illness! Alcohol, pot, cocaine – all readily at hand and, boy, are they better than that Haldol!! Crime, violence, drug addiction. …  all the fault of those crazy people they let back into the community, right?

 

Throw more money at the problem.  Funny how none of it seemed to get to the people who could actually use it.  The administrations of the mental health authorities swelled like a young man in lust….  Only the most dedicated mental health professionals (along with others who couldn’t find jobs elsewhere) would work in the system because the pay sucked – but the bore-o-crats were well paid on state employee scales, with state health plans etc.

Meanwhile, growing numbers of homeless appeared in the parks and on the sidewalks of towns & cities. In the rural areas, the poorer they were, the more squalid the circumstances and the further from any services they lived.

Enter the hallway bully, NC State Government.  Look! Look! A pot of money!    What can we do with this pot of money? Oh! Oh! It belongs to the mental health system!  Too bad!! Give us your lunch money!!  Look!  Over there!  A bird!! Ten million dollars?  What ten million dollars??

Not an isolated incident.  Just part of the hemorrhage.  The dam was leaking in too many places.

Meanwhile, where was the housing?  Where were the jobs?  Where was the transportation?

HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHa!!!!….sorry, I had to stop before I peed my pants…..

The hospitals became dumping grounds for those too ill or too addicted to lay quietly on the sidewalk. (The following is based in about a thousand true stories) After Joey knifes Uncle Bud in a paranoid rage , well, then maybe we’ll have the cops take him to Dix before they take him to prison. Can’t commit them unless they are dangerous to themselves or others.  The week before: What’s that you say?  Joey said he was hearing voices?  Said they we’re telling him there were demons hiding in people?   Well, has he done anything?  No?  Well we can’t commit him; there’s no proof he’s dangerous. Oh, sorry Uncle Bob…

Hmmmm…Now where’s that hallway bully?  Oh, look, there’s a bird!

Public mental health system? What public mental health system?  No.  You must have been hallucinating.  We can’t afford a public mental health system…

Look! Look! See the private companies who want to “take care” of all the poor!  See no services provided unless they are reimbursed by medicaid. See the happy corporate CEOs stuffing all that money in their pockets. See companies pull out of the mental health business after the public system was dismantled because they can’t make enough money exploiting the misery of the mentally ill. See people lose their jobs. OH! OH! There’s a crisis!  We must do something! ….

Silence. (picture: Johnstown flood) Sound of water flowing through the total breach of the dam.

We know what!!  We’ll take better care of our mentally ill by reducing the number of beds in the mental hospital! We’ll take better care of our mentally ill by reducing the number of beds in the mental hospital! We’ll take better care of our mentally ill by reducing the number of beds in the mental hospital! If we repeat it enough times, won’t it become true?

Oh, the hospitals we already have aren’t adequate already? Eh?  Did you say something?  Speak up!  We can’t hear you!

Oh, it’s just those mental health advocates.

No, wait!  There’s a voice: No more money until you fix what’s broke! Who’s that?  OOOOO NNNOOOOO!  It’s Uncle Sam! The only one the hallway bully is afraid of….

We be smoked. They figgered out we been employ’n high school drop outs t’ cares fo’ our crazy folks. They figgered out we couldn’t give a crap about thoz crazy ‘uns.

What?  Who died?  Look! There’s a bird!

 

9/27 /2010  Update: Former  Gov E  & the little woman are both under investigation. She lost her cushy job. They are trying to close Dix. Again. Nothing has improved in the NC mental health system. Medicare & medicaid cuts are making it harder for people to find care. As the “recession” continues, there is less $ to hire mental health professionals. Lalalalalala….

12/4/2010: graphics still missing. definitely a conspiracy….

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