Chronic mental illness requires policy changes

Read this article, just out on the USA Today website for some insight into why the nation’s mental health policy is broken.

As we have seen, such concerns are not solely health related but security related as well. Sadly, “pro-family” organizations opposed efforts, eventually successful, to require health insurance coverage to include rational benefits for mental health care. We need to do much more to secure a safe and reasonable national policy.

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  • David Blakeslee

    There is nothing in the Tuscon narrative to suggest the perpetrator was denied access to healthcare for his mental illness.

    I think the opposite is the case, that he was encouraged to seek it and didn’t do so.

    This is not about Palin (although Palin has her problems).

    This is not about our broken mental health system (although the mental health system has its problems).

    This may be about legal protections for the SMI which preclude the legal system from imposing treatment on those who are at highest risk to harm others.

    Unlike the mother in the USA today article, it appears that Loughner’s parents were not so aggressive in pursuing treatment options for him.

  • David Blakeslee

    From David Brooks at the NY Times:

    The political opportunism occasioned by the Tucson massacre has ranged from the irrelevant to the irresponsible, all while we ignore the most productive questions.

    We got distracted with the attack on the Tea Party.

    We can warm our hearts with a goal of “changing the tone.”

    We can talk about guns….

    We can talk about mental health insurance….

    The issue at the core appears to be something else entirely: Legal protections for the SMI that occasionally put the public at severe risk.

    Unless we want to use every public event as a “Dramatic Example of Why…” insert the logical distortion of the facts here to justify our Pet Projects.

    Such is the nature of the Politicized Mind.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    The issue at the core appears to be something else entirely: Legal protections for the SMI that occasionally put the public at severe risk.

    Yep, that’s about it…

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    PS – I need to add that legal protections are key but so is a rational policy aimed at getting the treatment to SMI people without frustrating and bankrupting their families into despair.

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  • ken

    David Blakeslee# ~ Jan 16, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    “The issue at the core appears to be something else entirely: Legal protections for the SMI that occasionally put the public at severe risk”

    What about legal protections for the rest of the population that occasionally put the public at severe risk? Are you concerned about those as well?

    can anyone answer the following questions:

    what percentage of murders are committed by those with a mental illness?

    what percentage of murders are committed by young male minorities? by racists (or other bigots)? by people who play violent video games? by other identifiable groups?

    what percentage of those with a mental illness commit murder, or other violent crime? what about the other groups mentioned above?

    I think examining/improving the mental healthcare system in the US is a good idea, but not ignoring a person’s rights he just because he is mentally ill.

  • stephen

    I see that the FRC continues its assault on sanity.

    In an interesting development, Lesley Pilkington, a British psychotherapist who undertook to help a patient (and gay rights activist) pray away the gay using ‘techniques’ put about by NARTH, may very well lose her license to practice. To quote The Telegraph: The therapy has been described by the leading professional psychotherapy body as “absurd”, while the Royal College of Psychiatrists said “so-called treatments of homosexuality” allow prejudice to flourish.

    Yet one more menace exported from the States to interfere in the lives of people who have done no harm.

  • Ann

    Yet one more menace exported from the States to interfere in the lives of people who have done no harm.

    Stephen,

    Did the individual go to the therapist as a client or pretending to be a client?

  • Ann

    Stephen,

    I have heard Narth believes in reparative therapy, as well as regular therapy to help people with unwanted same gender attractions, but I have not heard of, or am aware of, them practicing “pray away the gay” techniques that some ministries have done. I could be very wrong about this, but if you have any information about Narth using the pray away the gay issue as you cited, I would appreciate knwoing about it.

  • Mary

    I for one am glad that there are counselors and LMFC’s out there who do understnad that people want to work on issues of unwanted same sex attraction. Can you imagine being told (as it was back before the 70′s) that you are not allowed to pursue your own goals in mental health?

  • Ann

    I for one am glad that there are counselors and LMFC’s out there who do understnad that people want to work on issues of unwanted same sex attraction

    Me too, Mary

  • ken

    Ann# ~ Jan 17, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    “Did the individual go to the therapist as a client or pretending to be a client?”

    The client, Patrick Strudwick, went in under cover to find out about her therapy. He wasn’t interested in changing.

    You can read the details here:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/8261705/The-therapist-who-claims-she-can-help-gay-men-go-straight.html

  • stephen

    Psychotherapists in the UK are most often paid by the National Health. Therefor it is entirely appropriate that they disbar this woman so that public money is not funding the equivalent of creationist thinking applied to mental health.

    Ann, NARTH and all its derivatives are entirely religious in nature. Finally the ‘cure’ is all about ‘accepting Jesus’.

    These so-called therapies are the chief instrument used by many to undermine the civil rights of gay people by claiming to prove that one’s orientation is a matter of choice. It isn’t. As more and more is understood about the biological underpinnings of orientation these flim-flam schemes to ‘heal’ gay people are exposed for what they truly are: garbage.

    Interestingly, the therapist in question has a gay son. This is how she helps him. Yes the reporter was posing as a patient. This is done all the time by reporters. I mentioned that he is a gay activist as this information is being tossed around as if it in some way discredits his actions. I don’t think it does. Most therapists aren’t trying to get their patients to pray with them. And if they are it would seem appropriate to take their license from them to stop them doing more harm.

  • ken

    Mary# ~ Jan 17, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    “Can you imagine being told (as it was back before the 70?s) that you are not allowed to pursue your own goals in mental health?”

    Even if those goals are to kill a US Congresswoman to stop her from taking over your mind?

    It is the responsibility of a therapist to help a patient based on reasonable expectations and sound scientific principles. Here is a quote by Mrs Pilkington (from the article linked above):

    We say everybody is heterosexual but some people have a homosexual problem. Nobody is born gay. It is environmental; it is in the upbringing.

  • Eddy

    From the concluding statement of the article Ken linked to: (They are) ‘dedicated to social diversity, equality and inclusivity of treatment without sexual discrimination or judgmentalism of any kind, and it would be absurd to attempt to alter such fundamental aspects of personal identity as sexual orientation by counselling.”

    Be it noted that the diversity that is NOT tolerated is for a person who is homosexually inclined to believe that perhaps they were NOT born gay…that the ‘inclusivity of treatment’ is indeed discriminating against those of their kind who believe that their homosexuality may have been a learned response or behavior…that those who believe such are indeed judged to be foolish and misguided. Any homosexually inclined person who believes that their homosexual inclinations are NOT a ‘fundamental aspect of (their) personal identity’ shall be without recourse or resource in psychiatry despite the fact that it has not yet been determined that homosexuality is inborn.

    Oh, and I’m not quite sure how this topic regarding ‘chronic mental illness’ turned into a discussion of homosexuality. Is it the fear that homosexuals might be judged as ‘chronically mentally ill’ or possibly a suggestion that those who have ‘unwanted homosexual attractions’ are ‘chronically mentally ill’. LOL…or perhaps just another unexplained detour that this blogsite is famous for.

  • Ann

    Ann, NARTH and all its derivatives are entirely religious in nature. Finally the ‘cure’ is all about ‘accepting Jesus’.

    Stephen,

    I believe this statement is not true. Please point me to something that supports your statement regarding Narth as being entirely religious in nature and that the cure they cite is all about accepting Jesus.

  • Ann

    These so-called therapies are the chief instrument used by many to undermine the civil rights of gay people by claiming to prove that one’s orientation is a matter of choice. It isn’t.

    When you say “many”, who are you referring to – professional therapists?

  • Ann

    Eddy,

    I will read your comment in a minute – just so happy to see your name here again!

  • Ann

    As more and more is understood about the biological underpinnings of orientation these flim-flam schemes to ‘heal’ gay people are exposed for what they truly are: garbage.

    Stephen,

    Ummmm…..not sure how much is really understand or accepted about biological underpinnings but I will be the first one to sign on when or if it is really established and accepted in the medical and scientific community. Regardless, for some, it will not matter – they still deserve ethical treatment for their unwanted same gender attractions.

  • Ann

    The client, Patrick Strudwick, went in under cover to find out about her therapy. He wasn’t interested in changing.

    Thank you Ken.

    Do you suppose his reporting is biased then if he was looking for something negative? I am wondering if a client went to her for therapy for their unwanted attractions and was sincere in their resolve to abstain from same gender sex, if he/she would have reported differently.

  • Mary

    “Can you imagine being told (as it was back before the 70?s) that you are not allowed to pursue your own goals in mental health?”

    Even if those goals are to kill a US Congresswoman to stop her from taking over your mind?

    Ken,

    Are you seriously trying to conect these two? Seriously?

  • Mary

    The client, Patrick Strudwick, went in under cover to find out about her therapy. He wasn’t interested in changing

    These kind of shananigans made my relationship with my therapist harder to develop. She did have a fear that I might be such a kind of person. And I would never give her name out to someone who needed help because of such things happening. Also, although she has bugged me at times, nothing she has ever done has been as wierd as some of the things I read about from people trying to show the worst of therapy available to people with unwanted same sex attraction.

  • Mary

    Be it noted that the diversity that is NOT tolerated is for a person who is homosexually inclined to believe that perhaps they were NOT born gay…that the ‘inclusivity of treatment’ is indeed discriminating against those of their kind who believe that their homosexuality may have been a learned response or behavior…that those who believe such are indeed judged to be foolish and misguided. Any homosexually inclined person who believes that their homosexual inclinations are NOT a ‘fundamental aspect of (their) personal identity’ shall be without recourse or resource in psychiatry despite the fact that it has not yet been determined that homosexuality is inborn

    Good points.

  • stephen

    Ann: unwanted attractions equal socially induced shame. Some deal with it better than others. Attempts to change one’s orientation are futile and destructive.

    To find out more about where the science is you might want to look at Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why: The Science of Sexual Orientation by Simon LeVay.

    The reporter wanted to expose her. And why not? Her harmful incompetence should be exposed. I wouldn’t want a doctor treating my measles by bleeding me. By and large British people do not want American evangelicals interfering in their lives. The damage they can do has been brought into higher relief due to the deplorable situation in Uganda. We hear a lot about ‘cures’ from Lively and co. It also raised its head during the repeal of DADT.

    As ever, Eddy likes to blame gay people for reacting to the never-ending stream of nonsense directed at us every day. ‘Diversity NOT accepted’ indeed! The reason I mentioned this case was the link in the OP to a story on the FRC, leading proponents of praying the gay away.

  • Mary

    The damage they can do has been brought into higher relief due to the deplorable situation in Uganda. We hear a lot about ‘cures’ from Lively and co.

    Many evangelical christians are not these people you describ

    .

  • Eddy

    Stephen,

    Please clarify where I blamed anybody in my post.

    Thanks for the clarification of where the ‘detour’ originated.

  • Ann

    unwanted attractions equal socially induced shame. Some deal with it better than others. Attempts to change one’s orientation are futile and destructive.

    Stephen,

    I’m not too sure about changing one’s orientation, however, one can change a perspective toward it and many successfully do. Ethical therapy and one’s personal desire matter a lot in successful treatment.

    To find out more about where the science is you might want to look at Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why: The Science of Sexual Orientation by Simon LeVay.

    I am referring to credible, substantiated, and widely accepted agreement about sexual orientations. We do not have that yet. Simon LeVay is one person and, so far, his views have not been widely accepted as a standard.

    The reporter wanted to expose her. And why not? Her harmful incompetence should be exposed. I wouldn’t want a doctor treating my measles by bleeding me. By and large British people do not want American evangelicals interfering in their lives. The damage they can do has been brought into higher relief due to the deplorable situation in Uganda. We hear a lot about ‘cures’ from Lively and co. It also raised its head during the repeal of DADT.

    I think what the reporter did is reprehensible. He mis-represented himself with the intention of harming the therapist. He followed through with it. He is deceptive and yet, is calling the therapist out for the same thing. I don’t know how he can be defended.

    As ever, Eddy likes to blame gay people for reacting to the never-ending stream of nonsense directed at us every day. ‘Diversity NOT accepted’ indeed! The reason I mentioned this case was the link in the OP to a story on the FRC, leading proponents of praying the gay away.

    I hold a very different opinion of Eddy than you. He puts it all into perspective and is not afraid challenging that which needs to be challenged. In the face of verbal bullying, his courage and intelligence is to be admired.

    Have you found the facts I asked you for regarding your comment on Narth? Are there any?

  • David Blakeslee

    Yowsa!

    How did this thread become about NARTH, and reparative therapy?

    And the assumptions by some about those who seek “change” are global and simplistic as some of my fundamentalist friends.

    Warren has a new thread for this topic you invented.

    Back to the Seriously Mentally ill!

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Yes, indeed let’s get back to the topic. There is a perfectly good thread here for such things.

  • Ann

    How did this thread become about NARTH, and reparative therapy?

    David Blakeslee,

    I am not sure why Stephen made the following comment

    Ann, NARTH and all its derivatives are entirely religious in nature. Finally the ‘cure’ is all about ‘accepting Jesus’.

    I questioned it here and have yet to hear any response back.

    Stephen,

    I believe this statement is not true. Please point me to something that supports your statement regarding Narth as being entirely religious in nature and that the cure they cite is all about accepting Jesus.

    I believe the diversion came from Stephen citing the article about the UK therapist that Dr. Throckmorton has a separate thread on now.

    Chronic mental illness = UK Therapist = reparative therapy = Narth = oy vey.

  • David Blakeslee

    When you have a Political MInd…it is all about your preferred topic :).

  • ken

    In an effort to get back on track I’m going to repost my questions from Jan 17 (other off-topic questions to me will be addressed in the other thread).

    David Blakeslee# ~ Jan 16, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    “The issue at the core appears to be something else entirely: Legal protections for the SMI that occasionally put the public at severe risk”

    What about legal protections for the rest of the population that occasionally put the public at severe risk? Are you concerned about those as well?

    can anyone answer the following questions:

    what percentage of murders are committed by those with a mental illness?

    what percentage of murders are committed by young male minorities? by racists (or other bigots)? by people who play violent video games? by other identifiable groups?

    what percentage of those with a mental illness commit murder, or other violent crime? what about the other groups mentioned above?

    I think examining/improving the mental healthcare system in the US is a good idea, but not ignoring a person’s rights he just because he is mentally ill.

  • David Blakeslee

    No idea about your percentage questions, you may want to explore the CDC.

    Rampage murders appear to be performed disproportionately by Males, with SMI, under the age of 40 (?).

    Here is another tidbit: SMI and drug abuse. Loughner experimented with pot, alcohol and legal hallucinogens.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/18/us/18salvia.html?_r=1

  • Mary

    SMI and drug abuse

    Isn’t that common in an attempt to self medicate?

  • ken

    David Blakeslee# ~ Jan 18, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    “No idea about your percentage questions, you may want to explore the CDC.”

    Which emphasizes my point . Lots of people suggesting “solutions” (some fairly extreme) , without knowing all the facts.


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