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View Diary: Stop Blaming Newtown Tragedy On Mental Illness (301 comments)

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  •  mental illness is already stigmatized; the next (20+ / 0-)

    step in many people's minds is to criminalize mental illness (whatever that means since most people have "quirks" to some degree or the other) or even to enforce institutionalization of those deemed mentally ill.
    After all, it is in living memory that we have seen states sterilize the mentally ill so they would not reproduce
    http://en.wikipedia.org/...
    think that was the Bad Old Days?  Then there is this:
    http://psychcentral.com/...
    Yep mental illness= not only court ordered abortion but also court ordered sterilization
     

    •  Yep. And the more stigmatized mental illness (17+ / 0-)

      is, the harder it is to treat. Numerous studies show this. Again, mental illness does not operate in a vacuum. You can throw all the medical care in the world at them. It won't get real results without the minimization of stigma. I don't hear the general public advocating for expanded health care for the mentally ill except after mass murders. That really sucks, and it has very real consequences.

    •  The Incarceration Industrial Complex... (6+ / 0-)

      ...would enthusiastically volunteer to "accept the challenge" of managing the end result of criminalizing mental illness in their special way.

      When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Egalitare on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 04:40:45 AM PST

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      •  We are way past that point. (8+ / 0-)

        A hugely high percentage of the people in jail right now suffer from mental illnesses.  We are warehousing the mentally ill in prisons, not treating them and generally doing more harm than good.

        The people and families who suffer from mental illness and its sometimes crippling effects are grossly underserved and protected in our country.

        •  Exactly (4+ / 0-)

          In many places mental illness HAS been criminalized.

          I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

          by Satya1 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:02:32 AM PST

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          •  And more stigmatized than (4+ / 0-)

            it used to be because not only do these people suffer from mental illness we have labeled them as criminals.

            •  I've seen mentally ill people (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              inclusiveheart, poligirl

              treated very shabbily even here at DK - and by very senior  FPers.  The problem is pervasive.

              Yeah, I don't see how US society at large has made any progress fighting stigmatization.  Any progress seems limited within the families and professionals involved.

              I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

              by Satya1 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:43:01 AM PST

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              •  I was in a jury pool once that was (4+ / 0-)

                being asked by the state to convict a guy who showed up in a prison jump suit with no shoes and waived at all of us with the biggest grin saying "Hi!" when he walked in.  He was happy as a clam and SO happy to see all of us.  Like an excited, enthusiastic four year old.

                He was charged with attacking a woman at a bus stop with an umbrella. It was clear that the guy was completely nuts and didn't even have a clue what was happening to him.  Initially, I wondered if they were taking prisoners' shoes away from them in court.  I was not empaneled on the jury and checked in with my Dad who was a defense attorney at the same court.  I wanted to ask him about shoe policy.  

                Turns out that the guy was as mentally ill as he appeared to be - he didn't wear shoes because no one could convince him it was a good idea - and he probably suffered from something like schizophrenia although I don't know for sure.  In any case, I asked why he was in court and not at a hospital.  My father's flat and short response was, "They don't do that anymore.  They put them in jail now."

                That was a number of years ago now.  He's probably either dead or back at the bus stop chasing invisible demons with umbrellas.  Not exactly helpful to anyone, sadly.

                •  interesting anecdote (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Ice Blue

                  My understanding is that NGRI (not guilty by reason of insanity) is harder to get in court these days almost everywhere.

                  I've worked with some mentally ill people in a former career in social work.  My wife though has been a forensic psychologist for many years.  Her patients are the ones found NGRI in situations where they killed someone.  Schizophrenia and depression are the usual culprits.  They are put away for life in high security and are treated relatively well.  They aren't sentenced per se, but they are given a "Thiem date" which indicates when (if ever) they can be released.

                  I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

                  by Satya1 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:20:26 AM PST

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                  •  A bit more than anecdotal. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    smartdemmg, Brit

                    My father's mix of clients between the sane and criminal and the mentally ill changed over the 25 or so years he was a defense attorney.  The number of mentally ill clients increased and more and more services were cut.  By the time I was in that jury pool, it was pretty standard for him and his colleagues to represent people who really should have been handled by mental health services professionals according to him.

                •  Years of being a cab driver (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Ice Blue, Satya1, inclusiveheart, Brit

                  I had a contract with the local psychiatric hospital and emergency room. They'd use our cabs to drive people from one to the other. Not infrequently, I'd pick someone up from the ward still in the same condition as when I'd dropped them off. It was rarely more than a few days apart. This was state-funded, so there was no money to keep most people. I'd be given a voucher to drop them off. Where, you ask?

                  Anywhere. They got to choose.

                  I've seen a lot of things and people with serious thought disorders are at the top of my list.

                  These people do not receive adequate treatment, and yes, they are often put in-custody for violence, but sadly, let out due to violence as well. I presume most wind up in jail later.

                  Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

                  by mahakali overdrive on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:53:08 AM PST

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    •  That's exactly they way the NRA plays it, blame (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      caryltoo

      the "crazies" but stop anyone from talking about the fact that if there were sensible gun regulations (licensing/training/registration/insurance/no high capacity/assault weapons sold) most of these "crazies" would not have access to the guns in the first place.

      This is part of their campaign of terror.  I am sure that all they can think of is increasing the per capita firearm ownership so that instead of having Yemen as a distant second at about half the per capita ownership as the US then Yemen will be much lower than us.  More deaths = more fear = more guns = even more deaths, the perfect spiral that make the NRA and the industry they represent much richer.

      Then they came for me - and by that time there was nobody left to speak up.

      by DefendOurConstitution on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 05:50:05 AM PST

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