Sunday, December 16, 2012

This Is Important

read here

*I do want to amend this to be clear that I don't know anything about the author or the validity of her post... but I do think her overall point is important.  Any attention we can draw to our current mental health system and it's (very real) deficits is more than called for after a tragedy like this one.  I hope her post will make you think and investigate, and that is always a good thing.


Julie said...

Mrs F, that has been all over the internet. Not sure how I feel about it based on checking out her previous posts. There are a lot of holes in it. I am a big believer that the state of mental health help for children is not good, but I have reservations about this person. There is more to to this than we know. It is not that easy to hospitalize a child. I feel really uncomfortable that she is stating "I am Adam Lanza's mother."

Here is just one response:

That said, I totally agree that mental health issues should be more out in the open & that this is extremely important. And it is really hard to get ANY care, let alone quality care. I just don't agree that this person should be the poster 'mother' for that issue. I'd like for her to share what she has done to get help. If you read all of her blog entries, which I did, there is nothing. And it is kind of suspect.

I have to go though and deal with Murphy now...aakkk.

Mrs Furious said...

darn it! I wrote a whole comment and erased it by accident!

I understand your concerns and your point. I didn't take that post as a *true* story... I took it as a dramatization of a real problem in our country's mental health care system. I didn't read her blog, nor do I know if she really has children... but her story was written dramatically and elicits strong feelings and I think that is a good thing in the long run. Many many people are thinking about mental health care that wouldn't have been. I think that is still a net good even if there are holes in her story and it doesn't add up.

Is her story a worst case scenario?... yes. But having worked at as the clinician for the outpatient school for Bellevue Hospital, I also know it is a real possibility. I worked with elementary aged kids who bounced back and forth between inpatient treatment and outpatient. They were too disturbed to continue attending their neighborhood school but not disturbed enough that they qualified for residential treatment. This was in NYC and I know there isn't the equivalent school setting available in the vast majority of American school districts. They were "Severely Emotionally Disturbed" children and even with this special outpatient school staffed with therapists and psychologists and psychiatrists... their treatment was inadequate and our space was limited. The goal was to keep them out of residential treatment (whose goal? I'm not sure... many parents begged to have their kids admitted), which meant hours of MEANINGLESS therapy sessions (I know because I was their therapist) and medication... just enough to get them through a school day leaving them crashing on their parents' watch. Our hands were tied by red tape and insurance and a mental health system and treatment modalities that were not designed for treatment of severely disturbed people. The parents suffered, the siblings suffered, they suffered. The parents' anger, frustration, hopelessness... it was intense. It was, honestly, a very scary job... I felt hopeless myself knowing I was stuck in a system that did not actually provide real help... not lasting anyway. It was heartbreaking, the situations I dealt with were really WORST CASE and yet I had a case load of 36 of them... in ONE school. I see now, that in some cases letting a home situation get so bad that we would have to make calls and have their children removed was the only option parents had at protecting their own sanity, family, and ultimately their child's well being.

So, I don't want to nor did I mean to promote one woman's blog or one woman. I meant to promote more attention paid to our inadequate mental health care system. There are real downsides to a deinstitutionalized mental health care system. I know that sounds scary, but if you live in a major city you are aware of all of the mentally ill homeless adults with no where to live and no access to care. That is one side of the problem. (and it is inhumane!) The other side, is that there are families that are desperately trying to care for children, adolescents, and adults that need more help than a mainstreamed school system can identify or help with or a family doctor can diagnose and treat (nor are they qualified to!!) and yet, if they are lucky that is the treatment they are getting. If they have no insurance, aren't in a well staffed school district (are there any left?... one school social worker per district is not EVER going to be close to adequate) they likely have no treatment and the severity of their mental illness is not recognized until it is too late.

Mrs. Smitty said...

I'm slogging through just what I feel and think about the CT mass-murder and the aftermath, but many of the roads I am taking all lead to this point: mental health.

Whether or not her story is true, as you state, isn't really the point. It is a good dramatization of the broader point: mental health. A mom with no skills - or even a family with no skills - trying to deal with a kid with that level of disability isn't a successful model. (when I say "with no skills," I mean "not a trained clinician")

Lackluster mental health care - nonexistent, really - leads to places where a 20-year-old gains easy access to guns and kills whom he is mad at because to that mind, that's an acceptable solution.

It was not a crowning moment in democracy when, last week, several terrible pieces of legislation were rammed through the legislature with little or no actual "democratic process." Among those was, of course, a new gun bill allowing for concealed carry in places formerly off-limits (churches, SCHOOLS, sporting events).

I bring that up to say this: that the amount of legislative time and energy spent on devising ways to slam a set of priorities through to the Governor's desk - all the tricks, deals, amendments, speeches, and the like - could be better used on better funding and laws pertaining to mental health. That is, if our priorities were correct.

If we're not going outlaw guns or types of guns - if we just can't bring ourselves to have that discussion for fear we upset the almighty NRA - then we damn better well have the best mental health care on the planet, and train parents/guardians with the skills necessary to recognize problems, and give doctors the time and patient load that allows them to help catch disabilities, and on and on.

But we don't. We have a possibly theoretical 13-year-old who intermittently hates and loves his mommy, and when he hates...he hates, and we have a real 20 year old so unbalanced and unhealthy that he not only kills his mom with her guns, he kills everything she loved with those guns. 65% of Michigan's prisoners have a mental illness. That's where we are. Instead of addressing mental health, we shove people who need help and treatment into poverty, prisons, and just out-and-about to fend for themselves.


Mrs. Smitty said...

Oops. That's Smitty, not Mrs Smitty. But I bet she agrees!

Mrs Furious said...

ugh... the new gun bill physically sickens me. I can only hope that the timing of this horrific school shooting will put an end to it. People's blatant disregard for common sense when it comes to gun ownership and usage is mind boggling. No amount of gun toting teachers could have stopped this. He was wearing a bullet proof vest for one thing. For another even trained law enforcement officers will never have encountered this type of scenario. A teacher with a classroom of kids has no chance of being able to react quickly enough and with the accuracy (or weapon needed) to have preempted this. The very notion is complete deluded. The reality of this bill is what?... more loaded guns in a school... how could that possibly go wrong?!
The fact is semi-automatic weapons are designed for one thing... high rate of fire which allows for mass shootings. Of people. They have no place in a civilian setting. Ever.

We need to follow Australia's lead!

Kellie said...

She is going to be on the Today show this morning!

Smitty said...

Governor Snyder vetoed the gun bill I referenced above.

So we have that going for us. And that's nice.

Mrs Furious said...

thank God!!... I just wrote that ass a personal letter about it this morning.

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