General Question

Cruiser's avatar

Do we as a society do enough for people who suffer with mental problems?

Asked by Cruiser (34983 points ) 3 months ago

Not a day goes by where I don’t read or hear about someone going off the deep end and doing something pretty substantial, mass shootings and knifings, running naked in subways and buses and yesterday this nut-job who brought a backpack with a pressure cooker full of confetti and leaving it at the finish line at the Boston Marathon thought his idea of performance art was a good one.

I did a casual search on mental illness and over 25% of Americans have some form of mental illness with similar stats around the world. I am positive each one of us knows someone on meds or may be or have been on meds themselves at one time. To me this is a serious issue and with my own observations of people who do suffer mental issues, IMO not enough is done to help these people.

So I am asking are we doing enough or what more can we do to address the issue of mental illness?

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64 Answers

Seek's avatar

The statistic is likely much higher in reality, due to the number of people with inadequate access to healthcare never being diagnosed.

I should probably be on meds myself. But I’ve never been diagnosed with anything because doctors want money.

kritiper's avatar

Everybody is at least a little crazy. The world is an insane asylum run by the patients. The cure may be worse that the ailment! Is it worth going there???

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

There is a huge discontinuity between those who are on meds and those who need them. We also need to be very careful what rights and privileges are restricted from those who are “mentally ill” it’s a slippery slope for many reasons. I agree just don’t go there.

KNOWITALL's avatar

First of all, I take exception to the stigmatizing use of ‘nut job’.

Secondly, of course we don’t do enough, but lawmakers are starting to get it finally are helping to get more funding for the mentally ill.

Lastly, I don’t think it’s all mental illness. From what I’ve seen, if a person has rage issues and their family disowns them, there’s a lot of emotional response to that that often are negative, like depression and suicide.

Instead of looking askance at the homeless guy walking down the street, I recommend we all give him a smile. Many people I’ve met with a mental illness are desperately seeking affection and are extremely lonely. One lady was so poor before her check came, she went without food so her cats could eat. It’s very sad.

dappled_leaves's avatar

At present, our society is terrible at correctly diagnosing and correctly treating mental illness. So I’m not sure how to address the question “Do we do enough?” Much of what is done now is wrong. Do we particularly want to do more?

Cruiser's avatar

@kritiper I probably should have spent more time on this in my question but I am more concerned with how do we prevent these people from committing these heinous crimes who are mentally unstable? Most if not all of these shooters/bombers/knifers are off their rocker and most if not all were receiving or had received mental health care. They were known to have mental problems yet seemingly fall through the cracks, have access to guns and we all too often now see the tragic end results. Happening way too much as of late.

fluthernutter's avatar

Not enough. Ever try reading the police daily logs? It’s depressing as hell. So many 5150’s that are followed several weeks later by suicide. Either that or where I live is just exceptionally crazy.

There was a crazy guy who climbed up to our roof in the middle of the night and started tearing off our satellite dish. He got 5150’d and then escaped from the hospital. I haven’t heard of any follow-up to his case.

Bummed about the damage to my roof, but I wish him well. Society has little to no resources to truly help people like him.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I will probably be castigated for my comments, but what the heck…

How is it society’s obligation to care for the mentally ill? Broadly speaking, how is it that our western civilization must take on the burden (financial, social, etc.) of caring for the mentally ill?

Where does mental illness stop and start? @kritiper made the statement that “we are all a little mentally ill”. Does that mean that society is required to treat everyone who lives here? If 99% of us are mentally ill, then is it perhaps the case that what some folks call mental illness, is in fact nor illness, but normalcy?

And assuming for the moment that there is some societal obligation exists – which may or may not be true – where does the treatment of mental illness fall in the other challenges facing western civilization:
– poverty
– hunger
– general medical care
– clean water and sewage
– unemployment
– defense
– roads and safe transportation
– environment and climate

It’s very facile to say “yes, we should do more”, but mental illness is one of many demands on civilization.

Cruiser's avatar

Again @elbanditoroso I am asking how do we help prevent the tragedies that these mentally people inflict on our society? The cost to care for the injured, bury the dead, settle law suits, repair the damage property and try, jail and rehabilitate these mentally unstable people HAS to be a large figure. Preventative efforts that prevent these events from happening could be covered from the money we save from having to pick up the pieces after the fact as we do now.

Judi's avatar

My son really really needed his medication a few years ago. He had no income and no insurance. He could go to the ER and get a prescription but his medicine was over $1000 a month. The county mental health was no help at all. It was awful. He’s doing better now and has insurance but if he has another episode and loses his job I’m thankful that the affordable care act is there to pick up the slack. Thank goodness for the affordable care act.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@Cruiser – I don’t know that we as society can prevent them. Even if we spent millions on drugs and diagnosis, and even if we each had our own counsellor chained with us, there is no way to do so.

Unless, of course, we lock up every potentially dangerous person. And if we do so, at what cost, monetarily and to society?

Current American society seems to be far more willing to pay for the effects, as opposed to paying for prevention. Possibly that’s because prevention can never be effective 100% of the time.

One final note, @Cruiser – you make the statement that people can be rehabilitated. Some can, no doubt, but many cannot. What does society do with them?

dappled_leaves's avatar

@elbanditoroso “Current American society seems to be far more willing to pay for the effects, as opposed to paying for prevention. Possibly that’s because prevention can never be effective 100% of the time.”

Well, that and possibly because it’s afraid to admit that its bizarre love of firearms is harmful. Not saying @Cruiser‘s question is about guns, but I think the unwillingness to address America’s gun problem is one of the reasons that many Americans wring their hands over “the huge problem of the violent mentally ill people” which I’m not sure is that big an issue. Is there a higher rate of mental illness in America than in the rest of the world? I’m going to guess that there isn’t.

Cruiser's avatar

@elbanditoroso That is why I asked this question. My son went suicidal and we as his parents had no clue to the metal anguish, stress and duress he was under. But once it became obvious he had issues that had to be dealt with we have gotten him help and he is rather well adjusted, successful and off to college. I know it is not as easy as give them a pill and all is well but at least in the case of my son we know his issue and can monitor it and have a, b, c strategies in place to keep him even keel. I keep reading about this people who snap and do their heinous things it seem they too were at one time helped and then it appears that help disappeared and these struggling people are left to deal with their demons on their own and that is the worst possible outcome with at times horrendous results. This is why I asked this question to see what thoughts about this are in other peoples minds.

kevbo's avatar

In my own experience with chronic and major depression and anxiety, the ultimate remedy turned out to be a spiritual one, and in that context, the suffering endured was more or less an integral part of the process. My story isn’t applicable to everyone, I’m sure, but there’s little cause for transcendence in a comfortable and happy life.

In addition, I honestly believe I was harboring some “demon” energy, which a) was feeding off my suffering and b) palpably exited my being a little over a year ago when my awakening of sorts began. (I’ve also seen this kind of energy exit others, so I’m pretty confident this isn’t merely a delusion.)

So, do we do enough? I’d say life pretty much takes care of itself without or without our intention. I also think (based on my own experiences with counselors and antidepressants) that behavioral health care isn’t any more effective than the intentions of the counselor and the readiness of the patient to put down his suffering. Our individual patterns of repeating mistakes are an example of this kind of reluctance to put down hardship.

There’s a saying that when the student is ready, the master will appear. I think it’s the same in this case. When a mentally I’ll person is ready, the person who will catalyze their change toward better health will appear in their life.

janbb's avatar

@Cruiser I too have become more aware of the issues as I’ve become friends with a very smart, capable guy with MI issues. He had a over a decade of misery before becoming diagnosed and stabilized and qualifying for SSD. He is doing well but had pretty much had to be an advocate for himself and I’m sure that many less competent people couldn’t have done it.

Because so many of the admittedly horrible psych hospitals have been closed, more and more people are being let out of short stay hospitalizations onto the streets without any follow-up. It is not merely a question of whether they will become violent – most won’t – but how we treat the most needy of us.

@dappled_leaves While many conservatives try to link only mental illness rather than access to guns to America’s violence, it is still true that we are inhumane in our neglect of the mentally ill. It is part of our lack of good affordable healthcare for all Americans.

Cruiser's avatar

@dappled_leaves THAT is a big part of it. People want more restrictive guns laws when they are pretty restrictive to begin with but the are not enforced as well as they should be. Too many people can buy guns who legally should not.

When my son went suicidal I took all the guns and ammo, knives and meds out of the house and tore up his FOID card. But I bet he could re-apply and get one despite him on record of receiving hard core meds. IMO people on meds should not own guns or be able to buy ammo.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@Cruiser i think that’s still a one size fits all type of solution. Just because someone is on meds or once was even ssri or anti-anxiety drugs in no way makes them dangerous unless there are other issues. Most who take or did take meds are not suicidal and are not dangerous on or off of them. If we go that route anyone who has ever been on something like that will be cast alongside felons and violent criminals as far as what they are allowed to own, firearms included. That’s simply not a solution.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I’ll go a little deeper and say that @Seek has this correct. It is access to proper medical care. It goes deeper still, most meds are not always administered correctly. Your family dr has no buisiness writing these prescriptions unless they intend to follow up with the patient on an almost daily basis until they get the dosage correct. The general population in the states have become more self centered and less relationship oriented. People loose their support groups, get hit constantly with unrealistic expectations that breed internal conflict and can actually spawn mental illness. The basic problem is that the public is so atomized, self-centered and out of touch with reality that we don’t care, respect or watch out for each other. This causes mental illness to fall through the cracks and generally be more intense when it occurs. People generally don’t want to accept the real answer that it’s mostly our fault.

GracieT's avatar

I am mentally ill. That influences almost all of my life, but the prospect of causing intentional harm to another person, let alone killing them, is abhorrent to me. I’m grateful for the help I’ve been able to have, but many of my friends who are suffering from the same illnesses I am have been unable to access the mental help professionals I have but also would never hurt anyone.@KNOWITALL is correct. Most of us would just like to have more friends, people who do not treat us as ill or “different,” but simply as friends.

LornaLove's avatar

A lot of the people you speak of are not mentally ill as such. They suffer personality disorders. For example: narcissistic and anti-social. In this case society does have a responsibility, pay taxes. Taxes then equips the correct people to deal with these types of people when the going gets tough. Not for us to help them, we are not equipped and we do not know how, however, some of us have these characters in our families.

For those suffering depression and other mental disorders, like all people with illness I reckon kindliness is called for. Patience and understanding, even if we do not understand.

Many anti-socials are born that way, many are made.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I have a mental illness. I am a Hawaii Certified Peer Specialist in mental health licensed by the state of Hawaii to work with people with mental illness.

I would like to state categorically that the vast majority of people with mental illness are peaceful and harbor no threat to their fellow people.

This OP implies that persons with mental illness are all homicidal, and that is demonstrably false. There is no greater percentage of people with mental illness who commit any type of crime than there are people in the general population who do so.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@GracieT That is exactly it. The vast majority of people who have mental illness are not violent or dangerous. In fact they often are exactly the opposite. I suffered depression myself and still do periodically to a lesser degree. It made me more compassionate, empathetic, grounded and self-aware. People with violent tendancies coupled with psychopathy and those who have lost actual touch with reality are the ones we really need to watch for. Blanket labeling all problems like anxiety, depression and other mental illness as dangerous is a huge mistake.

Cruiser's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake I take exception that you intone I imply this is the case. I even provided that 25% of the population is or has had mental problems. That would be over 75,000,000 people and that alone illustrates the magnitude of the problem and also just how small a percent break bad and do violence to other or themselves. But you can then also consider that more than 1 out of a 100 people attempt suicide and the problem of people causing harm to themselves and other people is no longer a small concern and you of all people should be aware of just how serious a problem this is. But alas you are correct that those that commit the larger scale events is truly a small number and we should just all continue to ignore this….sorry for wasting your time today.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@Cruiser Now you’re just being rude.

You wrote, “But alas you are correct that those that commit the larger scale events is truly a small number and we should just all continue to ignore this….sorry for wasting your time today.”

Please, point to where I said we should ignore the problem? I ask this question so others may be informed. I will not be following this thread or reading further in it. I do not need to be personally insulted.

Cruiser's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake Where did I imply “This OP implies that persons with mental illness are all homicidal”

Plus you further read more into my question by saying “There is no greater percentage of people with mental illness who commit any type of crime than there are people in the general population who do so.” I am not talking about any crime….I specifically addressed the mass shooters/bombers/knifers who have mental illness. I apologize if I came off rude…did not intend to…just trying to stay on track with what I asked about and why I put it in general and not social. You are the expert here and I would be very appreciative of anything you can offer that would further this discussion as asked.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

Up until the 60s and 70s we as a society used our tax dollars to round up the mentally challenged folks and lock them away in institutions. Nuthouses. And there many of those same mentally challenged were fire-hosed and raped on a daily basis until they were far worse off than when they were committed.
We then apparently saw the inherent cruelty of this system and began releasing the mentally challenged from the asylums into assisted living arrangements where they lived in their own homes or in small group homes.
Since the ninety’s, when I began working for a group which received federal funding to help manage over45 mentally challenged folks; these individuals received pretty good care. Far better than they would have received on the inside.
We could do more, as a society for the mentally challenged folks, but it has been a long uphill battle from when we used to just leave them behind to die as the tribe traveled to newer hunting grounds.
As for mentally challenged mass shooters. It would help if we could nip them in the bud by removing from them the cause of their mental abnormality.

Cruiser's avatar

@Dan_Lyons Thanks for the insight in your answer.

cazzie's avatar

I was married to a man for 12 years. He had serious issues and I finally got him to a doctor and he got a diagnosis. It meant the end of our marriage. Instead of doing what he could to help himself, he felt terrible about himself, ‘became’ his illness and diagnosis, abused his meds, didn’t go to his therapy appointments and blamed me for why he felt bad about himself.

You can lead a horse to water….... so, I will be sensitive to strangers, but I will never enable or suffer abuse again. Never.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Looking at it from a perspective of prevention, I will bypass my 1st inclination, no one care for it even if it would help, and go with the second option. As been proven, often times the problem has been around for a while but go undetected by the parents. No surprise, parents are not psychologist. I believe starting from middle grade school on there should be way more counselors and psychologist present in school. Children should have mandatory visits with them at least twice during the school year, preferably more. Education in school should start in grade school of taking the stain out of having a mental illness, in part, so if a child thinks they are having problems, they will more apt to go see the school psychologist then hunker down in their emotions. If the kid doesn’t feel going to the psychologist will make them look weak or hinky, they may use them. If they use them, any problems they do have might be identified. If a problem is identified, then the school and the parents can work on a solution, at least the parents will know there is a problem. As for what more we can do, I am sure there is, what to do and how is the question.

Cruiser's avatar

Great answer @Hypocrisy_Central I totally agree. Counselors do get involved in the schools but only after the fact and their case loads are enormous rendering them almost ineffective but at least the problem is identified and hopefully at he least monitored. I have a customer that owns a company where every Friday he brings in a psychiatrist who has an open door policy for any of the employees to take advantage of free of charge. He told me that he felt mental health of his employees was one of the most important benefits he could provide them. I was blown away by his level of concern for his employees.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central just so they don’t get over zealous and start putting kids on meds who don’t really need them. Most “ADD” kids I knew back in school did not need the meds and many ended up abusing them. Several then proceeded to abuse other drugs.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me I see that as the most likely scenario for getting schools more involved in “helping” where mental health is concerned. More kids on Adderall, more kids end up getting addicted to meth, more kids committing suicide. Not good.

Cruiser's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me I have to echo what you are saying. As an adult leader in Scouts, at a campout I was once put in charge of the pharmacy which meant I had to dispense any medication a scout needed and no shit over 50% of the scouts were on some med for psych issues. And many of these kids were just kids who all they wanted was attention and someone to speak to them at their level….yet the parents just wanted the meds and someone else to do that job for them. It was so sad to see that reality.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Cruiser “over 50% of the scouts were on some med for psych issues”

That is seriously fucked up.

Cruiser's avatar

@dappled_leaves Indeed and so was the basket of meds I had to oversee.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

I am much more afeard of the nut jobs in Washington DC than any street level weirdo.

I really mean that.

rojo's avatar

@Cruiser I was on the other end of your scouting experience (admittedly it was many years ago) I can recall none of us were on ADD meds. HOWEVER, our main activity was hiding our pot and alcohol from the scoutmaster and other adults. We were very adept at it.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@rojo I remember raising hell in scouts, we did some of the craziest shit. We also learned a lot about ourselves and about responsibility.

LornaLove's avatar

@Cruiser There is a difference between a personality disorder (those that are often but not always of course, involved in violent crimes) and anti social behaviour and people suffering from a mental illness.

A personality disorder is just that, a disorder of the personality that onsets in youth or childhood. It is mostly that persons personality with flaws. These are the ones that can at times commit crimes.

Mental illnesses like depression, bipolar etc., does not assume that these people will commit a crime.

I think it is important not to confuse the types of disorders here, as you did in your question.

It is misinformation.

At times people can on a diagnostic axis have both a mental illness and a personality disorder. They are two separate diagnoses.

JLeslie's avatar

We don’t do enough. I saw an interview with Senator Deeds a few months ago where he talked about bringing his an to the hospital, because he was having a break after having been fairly stable. He was a you adult in his early 20’s I believe. The ER would not admit him and once home his son attacked his father stabbing him several times and then later on his son killed himself. Senator Deeds said this situation where hospitals don’t admit patients who should be is very common.

I worked at a behavioral hospital for a while. I remember one time this guy was supposed to be discharged but the nurse and I believed him to still be delusion. He was supposed to be discharged because his insurance ran out. When I saw his doctor I went to him to tell him our concern and thank goodness he said he was not going to discharge him, I didn’t have to say much, he had already decided. Basically, the hospital housed the patient for no money. The doctor did the right thing, but I can tell you the hospital was all about the bottom line. I’m sure they were not happy to keep that patient.

I don’t think it is all about treatment, I think we need to look at prevention too. My paternal grandfather and his siblings almost all had serious mental illness. None of the generation frollowing them more their grandchildren have serious mental illness. We probably have some predispotion, but we did not go through the extremely difficult times they did. The stress they went through growing up was really bad. I think environment can be a big factor. Not always, not with all illness, but I do think it is important for us to address. It would take a societal shift to reduce a lot of the stresses kids are under today. The stressors vary widely. Can be pressure for good grades, living in an insafe neighborhood, parents are substance a users parents have mental illness, etc.

kritiper's avatar

@Cruiser We can’t. There are too many to try and control or manipulate into being sane enough to halt the violence. And we are violent animals by nature. To even begin any control, we would violate everybody’s rights to be free to live their lives on their own. Unfortunately, violence is normalcy.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me […just so they don’t get over zealous and start putting kids on meds who don’t really need them.
I cannot see why counselors should be prescribing anything, they should be listening and guiding; at the very most reporting any problems they can’t straighten out.

Cruiser's avatar

@LornaLove I appreciate your comment and want to point out that I did not make a distinction of any specific mental disorder in my question and AFAICT personality disorders are a subset of a mental disorder and would qualify them to be part of my original question of are we doing enough or what more can we do to address the issue of mental illness.

@kritiper I do not see controlling a person as a solution to this issue…from my own limited experience and observations of the outside world I see people with know mental issues are treated as broken people and that the common approach is to hand them meds and think the problem is solved. I realize that comment is painting with broad strokes and I hope there are better solutions out there in the real world but again in the cases that make the headlines I all too often see a common denominator of the person committing these heinous crimes have had treatment for mental problems and seemingly fall through the cracks. It is just my opinion that mental illness is a serious issue that is not taken seriously enough and when it is not taken seriously or even ignored…people can snap and do terrible things.

Bill1939's avatar

I believe more should be done to help those suffering from mental illnesses. However, there are many problems that prevent effective treatment. Because of the large number of people who have a mental illness and the small number of professionals available to help them, drugs are too often used to control behavior. Theses “medications” are promoted by pharmaceutical companies who make enormous profits from their sale.

While providing social and psychological counseling in schools would greatly mitigate the number and severity of mental illnesses, many states are reducing funds for education because of they are on the verge of bankruptcy. There are too few professionals to provide such services and even if state could afford to finance this service, psychiatry and psychology is an art that a minority of current practitioners has mastered.

Federal and state legislators unfortunately are unable to distinguish the different forms of mental illnesses, and create laws that make those seeking help risk having their civil rights limited. For example, when I retired eight years ago I became very depressed and because I sought treatment I was prevented from renewing my FOID card. Another example is how sexual offences are treated equally. Under the law a pedophile is treated as being the same as an eighteen-year-old and a sixteen-year-old who fall in love and engage in sexual behavior.

This is a Gordian knot that only a greater understanding by biological and sociological sciences will untangle in the future. When they do, hopefully governments will reorder their priorities and allocate funds to apply such knowledge and mitigate this problem.

kritiper's avatar

@Cruiser I think the only other alternative, sans control, would be frontal lobotomies for everyone. And that might harbor a whole new realm of problems. Mental illness is a serious subject, but with no clear reasonable remedies readily forthcoming. We will just have to deal with human conditions as they exist, and make the best of them. After all, we live in an imperfect world!

Cruiser's avatar

@kritiper I do agree with you there. I guess my focus is on these people who snapped and did horrible things. Many were under care of a mental health professional either at the time they did their deed or prior and I am wondering what more that could have been done to help these people or put an algorithm in place that better helps identify those who are possibly violent or expressing thoughts of violence. Another common denominator I see in these people who snap and commit these horrible crimes is how family and friends say they were such nice quiet people who would never imagine hurting anyone.

Paradox25's avatar

I have a tough time with questions like this because it appears many people define the term ‘mental illness’ differently. I can probably safely assume that the other ‘normal’ 75% of people who aren’t deemed as being mentally ill or who are not on medication do many odd things themselves. The fact is there are plenty of normal people out ready to cross over to the other side at any time.

For people who I really consider to be mentally ill I don’t think we do enough. I also think our cut throat, competitive, fake it until you make it, never show fear type of culture generates insanity in people too. According to behavior determinism proponents, all negative behaviors are considered to be a form of mental illness. I think we have more than one problem to tackle here, in not only how we treat the problem, but how we even define it, and whether society itself plays a role in creating problems they complain about.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

As a society, we like to think we can control everything. We can’t. We do our best, providing that the afflicted person or his/her family recognizes the problem and seeks professional help. Outside of locking up all potentially mentally ill people, we can’t do much more than we are doing.

Paradox25's avatar

I simply don’t understand the right wing nutjob mindset (I’m not talking about all Republicans or conservatives). When I look at a case like this it kind of makes my blood boil a bit. This case is an extremely good example of a mentally ill person serving a nine year prison sentence for heroin possession, and not being allowed access to his medication, and then ultimately starving himself to death while locked up.

When I look at a case like this, and the attitudes of the trash responding to these threads justifying the torture or neglect of anyone in prison it’s no wonder the issue mentioned in the OP doesn’t get handled the way it should. It appears that the new mental wards are now maximum security prisons, which that inmate was serving his time at when he starved himself to death.

Cruiser's avatar

@Paradox25 That is a brutal and extreme example of what I am asking about here. This obviously was an example if tremendous negligence by the prison staff and can only imagine what may have happened had this man been out of prison when he snapped like this.

But it is this mishandling of a person who has mental illness either by ignorance, misdiagnosis or ignorance is the direction I was hoping to explore deeper. All too often I see a person with a mental illness treated differently. Kids on the small bus are made fun of and teased by their peers. Kids that have mental illness and ostracized and then put in a category of broken incapable people and often simply given only medication and little other help and support.

If all we did was give my son the meds he needed to control his anxiety he would be dead today. There is so much more going on inside the skull of someone who is mentally ill and intensive therapy and loving caring support to give these people a safe and secure environment in which to heal or at the very least safely live.

Unfortunately that story in your link appears to contain details of gross negligence but it also lack specifics as to who where and when what was said or decided with regards to this man’s treatment and lack thereof. Either way it is clearly another example of not enough being done.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

Okay, well here is my opinion on @Cruiser ‘s post, and other conversations that are going right now. How can we, as a society, muster the time and money to completely hand-hold every mentally ill person? The family certainly play a big part, but for those that don’t have family that care, what are we to do as a society? We can’t all stop living our own lives to babysit all the special interest members of our society. Just being a realist here. We have psychiatrists, counselors, and a myriad of programs and treatment centers. I think we are doing everything possible already.

If all of these things fail, it is usually because the individual with the problem was not brought in for treatment by his/her family or friends. Unfortunately the persons problems sometimes don’t come to society’s attention until they snap and do something really heinous.

As far as political correctness, our society has gotten almost ridiculous in this regard. Not only does society want its members to not make fun of or shun people who are different, they want us to not even notice that they are different. I would never shun, mistreat or make fun of someone who is different, but I resent the fact that society wants me to loose some I.Q. points and not know what is normal and what is not.

cazzie's avatar

The US penal system is broken. Jails for profit? Really? I’m not surprised mentally ill people are behind bars, being refused proper medical care. There was a program not that long ago about the mentally ill behind bars in the US. I’ll see if I can find it. It was shocking.

http://h4mla.com/?p=14461

Here from PBS… http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/asylums/view/

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

Aren’t all violent criminals mentally ill? What sane person would commit heinous crimes?

It would be lovely to provide treatment for everyone, but everything costs money. I know that we, as Americans, have the misguided notion that there is plenty of money for everything and everyone, and all worthwhile causes should be funded. That is one reason why we are 3 trillion dollars in debt.

Bill1939's avatar

The priority of state and federal governments seems to be to direct income from taxes and fees to corporations and individuals whose influence over legislators comes from their ability to finance reelection. When I was in college, majoring in psychology in the sixties, I looked forward to working in a large mental hospital that was located in a nearby city. It served a population in the southern part of the state. However, before I graduated the state closed this and other hospitals because of the expense of operating them. Instead the state relied on the use of drugs (then principally Thorazine) and housing patients in “shelter-care homes” that were largely mom and pop residences that were inadequate at best and whose primary purpose was to produce incomes for the owners.

Fifty years later the situation has become worse. Even these private residences are no longer supported by the state. Hospitals serving the general population have been either closed or absorbed by corporate conglomerates that cover multiple states and whose primary function is to generate profits for their stock holders. Mental hospitals are not profitable and therefore are not included in their portfolios. Private prisons profiting from large populations are rapidly replacing mental services. State prisons, holding criminals many of which are mentally ill, are finding their funding being increasingly reduced. To save money my state, and I presume other states, are closing many of these facilities, forcing already over crowded prisons to increase their populations. Furthermore, funds that had been assisting for-profit mental health services are also drying up.

@Skaggfacemutt and many others believe that the national debt resulted from providing these and other services to the poor, who represent a significant proportion of people in need. The major reason for a shortfall in federal and state incomes has resulted from the shrinking middle-class. And while the wave of “baby boomers” has added to governmental expenses (Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security being 48% of the 2013 federal expenditures), their numbers will significantly decrease in the next few decades.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

All I know is that everything costs money, and we don’t have any. Whose fault it is doesn’t really matter – we still don’t have it.

cazzie's avatar

If you think education is expensive, try ignorance. – Derek Bok

@Skaggfacemutt In a black and white world everyone in jail would have committed a ‘heinous crime’ but the world I live in has more grey areas. It’s too easy to just throw ones hands up and abandon morals, scruples and social responsibilities, but some of us don’t and don’t want to. Our response is ‘Try harder’.

Paradox25's avatar

@cazzie Unfortunately many people see things in black and white. I see this with the attitudes of people judging those who are serving time in prison where they think these people must have done something very bad in order to be there, when that’s simply not always the case. The fact remains that anybody can mess up and end up in jail or even prison, but you can’t get the self righteous ones to admit to this.

Many people also seem to have an attitude that people in prison for even the most petty crimes like drug use/possession still causes distress to society. However there are things people legally do that causes more problems than what many people are in jail or prison for. The butterfly effect is not confined to legality.

I brought this up because it amazes me how so many people continue to make excuses not to solve problems and make things better for everyone in the end. Mentally ill people are still a part of our society, and many of these people in prison will be released again, so it would be in our best interests to take this issue more seriously.

cazzie's avatar

@Paradox25 totally agree. I don’t think society (or any office) should have a ‘too hard’ basket. Crying there is no money is a false argument anyway.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Unfortunately many people see things in black and white.
IMO if it is something that might get in their way or block them they will take a black and white and Gray it to high heaven, and things they want to do to benefit off of, they black and white with the quickness.

cazzie's avatar

yes, @Hypocrisy_Central we know you have issues with certain rules and standards of behaviour. We think more should be done to help you, too.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Take up a collection of about 57 mil, I will go have “therapy” on a deserted island with beach front property for the next 33 years, if I am still living after that I will pop back in to let you all see if the “therapy” worked….....didn’t think anyone was that serious to help. ;-P

Seek's avatar

I’ve got a friend with a boat who could drop you off on a sandbar a few miles away from shore.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

^ If there is a mega yacht sitting off that sandbar with a Halliburton full of gold coins in the galley, let’s get with it!

Seek's avatar

Yeah… * shifty eyes * Yacht. Whatever you say.

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