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An opinion on Mental Health

Friday, December 14, 2012

DAILY BLOG: Mental Health

I’ve thought a lot about what I want to say and how I want to say it. The thing that prevents me is how people might react. Please understand that this is merely my opinion, and I don’t expect for a moment that anyone might agree with me. This is me putting thoughts into words on a blog.

I grieve for the innocence lost in Connecticut this morning. The children, the teachers and the families involved are in all of our thoughts. The nation mourns this tragedy. My children aren’t school age, but all I want to do is see them both and hug them.

What angers me is that the Illinois Governor and Chicago Mayor have blamed this tragedy on guns. It is as if there was a gun that went off by itself and did this heinous act. I disagree. On the shelf of any grocery store you will find: Alcohol, cigarettes, drain cleaner, rat poison. Those items do not kill people. A person chooses to consume or use this product to their or someone else’s detriment.

With that said. Our Federal, State and Local governments are looking at a fiscal cliff and the only “answer” is to raise taxes and cut programs. I am not talking about food stamps. I am talking about Mental Health programs.

In the past several years, the governments have closed inpatient mental facilities. Where do these people go? More than 50% are in our prison system. That is right, our prisoners are on medications for mental health. They are not classified as “insane.” You cannot be classified as “insane” unless there is no medication available to make you sane. Confused? So am I. It’s a place to put a group of people that we don’t want to deal with.

Insurance companies have upped the co-pays on all levels of out-patient therapy. Don’t even try to go if you are un-insured because the government has cut that program too.

Last the Pharmaceutical industry and insurance co-pays have raised the price of anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications. If you have high blood pressure, Wal-Mart will give you a 30 day supply of your maintenance medication for $4 whether you are insured or not. Co-pay on some ant-depressants are $50 a month, $180 without insurance. To me it would seem that an anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medication would be a maintenance medication. You take it to maintain your standard of mental function. Spend some time with a person who hasn’t taken their meds for a few days and you understand.

Have you noticed the rash of mass murders in this country as of late? Have you heard the interviews of people that knew the shooter? “He was so quiet,” “I had no idea he had a problem,” “He was a loner who didn’t have friends,” “My son has had problems all his life, we tried everything.” Not only do we cut the very programs that are needed, but the subject of mental health is so “hush hush.” Families literally bury mental health history, refuse to discuss it, pretend it’s not happening or shut out the family member who is crying out for help.

What is the end result? Connecticut, Colorado (twice), Virginia, Ohio……
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I have a personality disorder. It is so hard to function sometimes. You're right the medications without insurance are so costly that I have had to choose between food for my family and medication. The doctor would push pills that representatives brought whether they worked for me or not. He gave me pills that caused an electric shock inside my body. My face would twitch, my muscles would spasm and I had huge panic attacks because of them. When I lost my insurance he told me that I either needed to find another form of insurance or he couldn't see me anymore. If I can't see him, I cannot get refills for my medications. I was taking mood stabilizers and sleeping pills. Then this past May I ran out and he wouldn't refill my prescriptions. It was hard to adjust to being off of them but I felt better, less panicky. I tried to change what I ate, tried to take out the processed foods. This helped a lot but when money is low it is hard to stay away from them when you have a big family to feed. I started exercising and cleaning a lot when I got anxious or angry. Then, I broke my hand because of a panic attack. I needed my boyfriend to listen to me and he told me to wait a minute for an hour and a half. I hit his desk. I would love to say that I had control of it but it was like I was on autopilot. I told him after the fact, if he would had just stopped what he was doing (playing a stupid video game... I game too btw) it would never have escalated to the point it did. This took all of my tools away, I couldn't clean or work out with my hand the way it was. Especially after having to have surgery on it. I had to find other ways to cope.

    I learned one thing from this..... All of my doctors and counselors told me the same thing. I need to find a way to shut it off when it's happening. No amount of medication will be able to help. It's hard. But I do not want to be put on medications that make me numb or anxious all of the time. I don't want another doctor that is going to fail me because they're more interested in making money.
    2287 days ago
    When I wrote this blog, I did not know the identity of the shooter or that he shot his mother.

    a few minutes ago, I found an Associated Press release .... the shooter suffered 'personality disorder.'

    Enough said, IMHO
    2287 days ago
    I agree. A gun did not do this, a person needing help did this. Guns don't sprout legs and kill innocent people. Also today in China a man killed 22 people with a knife (on some news site)! Guess we should ban knives too. We really need to work on our mental health issues. America needs to work on a lot.

    Banning guns won't do anything, if someone wants one they will find it. Just like drugs, those are illegal but people get and use them daily.

    Praying for all the families involved in today's tragedy
    2287 days ago
    Although a serious adult discussion does need to take place, and soon, over gun control legislation, you are absolutely correct that mental health issues are still very much stigmatized and ignored and a massive part of this epidemic of violence.

    I do believe that progress is being made, although very slowly. My daughter has autism. While it is a neurological condition rather than a mental illness, it is only in my lifetime that children with autism were sent to public schools rather than institutionalized. There are still people who think if I beat her more when she was little she wouldn't have been developmentally delayed but they don't deserve any thing from me except a "WTF is your malfunction?"

    If a similar awakening can be made regarding mental illness then these affected individuals and their families can get the help they so desperately need, including the medications. There is a person in my life who has both bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. He has attempted suicide three times this year. Over these last twelve months he has spent more time in hospitals than out but they keep releasing him and he goes right back in within a couple of weeks. There just aren't enough facilities available to keep individuals as inpatients long enough to make sure their meds are working properly. I know a lot of people would disagree vehemently with this, but I truly wish that when a person is a threat to themselves or others when they miss a dose, then that person's meds should be provided on a sliding scale, even if that means it is provided without cost to the individual.
    2287 days ago
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