Topic Author
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Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2001 11:13 am

Re-institutionalizing The Mentally Ill.

Thu Jun 19, 2003 10:19 am

From about the early 60s to the late 80s, there was a movement (primarily in largely liberal states...but it happened all over the US to varying degrees) to free the mentally unstable from state-run institutions where they received therapy, medicenes, food, and supervision. These people were seen as unable to take of themselves without proper supervision and as a result were admitted into these state-run programs. Today, it is said that 60-70% of the homeless population has some kind of serious mental disorder that prevents them from leading a normal life, and taking good care of themselves.

Today, we see the fruits of those who labored to have the seriously mentally ill set free... In major cities all across America, public libararies have the pungent smell of urine, sprawled across benches, harassing other patrons, and sleeping in corners. Our police forces in downtown areas spend most of their time having to deal with the homeless and their actions, instead of being able to focus their time on more important matters. The downtown areas of cities like San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle have homeless on virtually every corner. It is now dangerous to walk through some parts of those cities at night because of this problem.

What was supposed to be "humane" for the mentally ill has sent them scrounging in dumpsters for food, sleeping under newspapers, and getting them addicted to drugs and alcohol. We must re-institutionalize our homeless who are not mentally fit. It was a bad experiment that has backfired badly.
America's chickens are coming home to rooooost!
david b.
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Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2001 7:18 pm

RE: Re-institutionalizing The Mentally Ill.

Thu Jun 19, 2003 10:26 am

Who's going to pay for it?

Jail is expensive.
Teenage-know-it-alls should be shot on sight
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Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2003 10:11 am

RE: Re-institutionalizing The Mentally Ill.

Thu Jun 19, 2003 10:36 am

Well, there is plenty of money to waste on useless wars... Why not spend it on something worthwhile?

EmiratesA345  Smile/happy/getting dizzy
You and I were meant to fly, Air Canada!
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RE: Re-institutionalizing The Mentally Ill.

Thu Jun 19, 2003 10:50 am

What happened was that many of the facilities that in the past that housed these patients have been shut down either as a result of the policies of releasing them back into society, or by budget cuts that centralized all mental institutions because in some states, there were facilities that housed only the most severe cases after releasing those believed to be well enough to be released into society. The point of view that lead to the release of less serious mental patients was that it would be better for those patients to be released into society and not be burdens onto taxpayers any longer. In many cases, the families did not want to handle the care of these patients and essentially left them to fend out on the streets. The persistant police crackdown on the homeless (or as Neil Boortz calls them, "Urban Outdoorsmen") has actually made the solution worse than the problem that it was supposed to solve. With government-supported mental health clinics suffering under a heavy caseload of patients, ranging from those with basic mental illnesses to those with severe enough illnesses to require in-patient treatment, not everyone who needs these services are able to get the help that they need. I can vouch on the conditions of most government-run mental health clinics. Having used one here in my area in order to get treatment for depression at a price I could afford, I saw people in that clinic that made my problems seem minor in comparision. These clincs are overburdened, handling not only mental illnesses like depression and schizophrenia, but drug addiction, and mental retardation. The system can be best described as revolving door counselling. Get 'em in, drug 'em, get 'em out of there. I spent more time in the waiting room than I did with the doctor. I even tried to get him to change my medication, as the side effects were getting worse, and not all of my symptoms were being fully helped (as they had previously); his solution, up my dosage, even after I told him of another medicine another doctor I had gone to for a time (mainly because I was not satisfied with the quality and measure of treatment I had been getting at the other clinic) had put me on that actually worked better than what he had prescribed me. I felt as though this doctor was being paid to prescribe Zoloft as much as possible. I actually felt better after two sessions with this other doctor than I did with the doctor that I had been seeing for almost two years, unfortunately, I couldn't afford to keep those sessions going, as this doctor's rates were a lot higher than what I had been paying at the other clinic. I feel better now that I'm working again (being unemployed had lead to the return of my depression I had a year prior), I still take my medicine to help keep myself on an even keel, just to prevent any relapse. I'm very glad that my depression was not serious enough to warrant a stay at a mental health faciltiy, as those places are the clinic I went to times 1000.
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RE: Re-institutionalizing The Mentally Ill.

Thu Jun 19, 2003 2:41 pm

Do you mean the seriously mentally ill people that cannot help themselves in any way? Those were forced to the street between 1977 and 1985 due to a very poor decison made at the highest level of the US government. These people did not, and do not, want to be sleeping under pieces of cardboard or newspapers. They know enough that they are quite aware of being better off in federally funded institutions but the "Gipper" spoke and they were put on the street.

For the basic mental illness, no one I know advocates putting them anywhere except on the road to recovery.
The day you stop learning is the day you should die.
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RE: Re-institutionalizing The Mentally Ill.

Thu Jun 19, 2003 8:01 pm

The US has executed the mentally ill. It could at least feed them.
Your bone's got a little machine
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Joined: Wed Dec 01, 1999 7:19 am

RE: Re-institutionalizing The Mentally Ill.

Fri Jun 20, 2003 5:03 am

You mention it is dangerous to walk through downtown areas of Seattle, San Francisco, and Portland at night because of the mentally ill. I don't know about SFO, but I avoid Pioneer Square and the ferry terminal in Seattle at all hours because the homeless are very aggressive at begging. Some of them travel in packs and most of them yell at passers by and sometimes call them names. The drug dealers are worse than the mentally ill. With the mentals, you can just walk by or tell them to f**k off. I have been followed by dealers.
The worst parts of Portland are in the north where the slums and gangs are and not downtown. I have no problems with Old Town/Chinatown or the Park Blocks. I see homeless and drug dealers in those areas all the time, but they keep to themselves. I have been approched by one dealer since I moved here from SEA two years ago. He asked if I was looking for anything. I said no and we kept walking. I don't avoid downtown Portland at all. Everyone knows as long as you don't touch anyone or start screaming at someone, the police don't need to get involved. Simply walking down the street is just that: Simple. I guess this is why I like Portland so much.

You say Merry Christmas, I say All Holidays Matter
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RE: Re-institutionalizing The Mentally Ill.

Fri Jun 20, 2003 8:01 am

From years of observation in New York City, I would have to say that the mentally ill often prefer to roam "free". In some instances this is merely common sense due to other "clients" in the shelters that are violent and probably belong in jail. But, for the most part, the homeless have their own agenda.

There were many reasons mentally ill people were released in the past, some of those reasons being very well meaning. Treatment in certain facilities was not humane or rational. And too, it was expensive.

However, the current breed of homeless/mentally ill/drug addicts/drunks/bums is more aggressive than it used to be. In earlier times they were confined to areas like the Bowery where they could roll about in the gutter unfettered. The relevant neighborhood -- Local "hotels", businesses etc. was prepared to deal with or even serve them.

Unfortunately, due to misguided dogma of organizations like even the once respectable ACLU - combined with fuzzy thinking judges, the bums are allowed to degrade many environments they once knew were not suitable for their behavior. This would include parts of public parks, libraries, transportation hubs. One bum while smoking crack apparently set fire to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. Is it cheaper to gut and rebuild a building than to have institutionalized the individuals responsible..or even move them along to an appropriate gutter? Probably not.

The best case is one of a woman who had a fixation with a newscaster by the name of Bill Boggs. Consequently, she said her name was Billy Boggs. She set up camp outside of Swenson's Ice Cream shop in Manhattan and proceeded to crap and urinate on herself while cursing at passerbys and generally doing everything one could possibly do to declare oneself insane and incapable of independently functioning in society in any remotely acceptable or productive fashion. The Mayor at the time, Ed Koch, had her detained.

The ACLU weighed in that "Billy Boggs" *RIGHTS* were being violated. They declared the problem to be one of a bad economy and lack of affordable housing. They obtained luke warm support from the usual like minded entities.

Over time, the ACLU provided Billy Boggs with a nice apartment, new clothes and a JOB !!! --- A job with THEM..working for the ACLU. Life was good. Then the ACLU took Billy Boggs on Tour... She spoke at Harvard. The word was finally getting out; High Rents and poor economy and politics were to blame. There was simply nothing wrong with Billy Boggs that was not symptomatic of what Society had done to her. Society was sick; not Billy Boggs.

Not long after, you all realize where Billy Boggs found herself. Back on the street outside of Swensons....cursing at passerby and behaving like a lunatic. The apartment, job, clothes, food, attention etc... it couldn't stop water from seeking its own level.

Don't know where Billy Boggs is now though.

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