To the Editor,
Michael Carbone's article about bringing back mental health institutions was very insightful. As someone who worked in mental health centers for 10 years as a case manager …
To the Editor,
Michael Carbone's article about bringing back mental health institutions was very insightful. As someone who worked in mental health centers for 10 years as a case manager supervising these clients; I can attest to the fact that we are failing the most vulnerable people . I always found that the sickest of the mentally ill - the schizophrenics - were the ones who didn't think they were sick; and therefore, wouldn't take their medications.
And what's even worse is today they no longer "like to use that term" my schizophrenic neighbor told me. Therefore, they have classified her as bipolar. She hears voices all the time and eventually stops taking her meds or they stop working. She then becomes psychotic and ends up with a brief stay at a hospital only to be kicked loose till the next time, when she has to go back.
Last time she broke down, I called the health care center where she is being treated. She had given me permission verbally to do this when she was lucid. They have an option for emergency services which I pressed. They asked and received all the pertinent information from me and then put me on hold and didn't come back. So I called back three more times to get help, which never came. I then gave up and called the police to do a wellness check.
First of all, this should not be another burden for police officers. They have enough to deal with. But it was the only option I had, as a case manager never responded. An aside here is that I've seen a case manager show up for this client twice in the eight years that I've lived in the same building with this person.
When I had a schizophrenic on my caseload years ago, I would visit them once a week or at least every other week. They also had what they call the mobile treatment team, which would visit people every day. Such a person as this would need daily care; yet is not even getting weekly care. She can't keep the house clean or take care of herself properly.
So the police responded and took her away. Two months prior she was at the hospital for a week. This time, it was a few days and they put her in a taxi. They didn't even make sure she could get back in her apartment. She couldn't. She didn't have her key.
Now she's about to need hospitalization again. I see the signs - the yelling of obscenities, the not answering the phone, the screaming at people who are not there. Yet I still don't ever see a caseworker check up on her . No one's checked up on her since her last hospital visit. A maintenance worker came to replace a handle on a refrigerator only to have her tear it off again and hit him with it.
Am I supposed to be her caseworker now that I'm retired? Where is hers? She belongs in a home or a hospital where she can be cared for. It's not fair to her and it's not fair to her neighbors. Are we to wait until maybe she gets a weapon and kills someone or herself? It could be a knife, a gun, maybe poison someone or bash them over the head.
Weapons don't kill people. People do.
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