Thank you Chris Serres for reporting on the troubling development at St Joseph’s Hospital in Brainerd. (11.2.17)
This may be our community’s (nation’s) most serious health problem.
St Joe’s failure to admit mental health crisis patients reflects the growing nightmare of how medical institutions are dealing with mental health at a management level.
Refusing help to our most troubled citizens (people in crisis) means more sad & awful things happen to the rest of us.
People in crisis are a danger to themselves and … others (Michael Swanson, Jeff Weiss, Kendrea Johnson and hundreds that did not make the newspaper – I know many of these sad stories as a volunteer CASA guardian ad Litem).
I’ve witnessed and been involved in dangerous & violent behaviors experienced by foster and adoptive families, teachers, counselors and many others forced to deal with undertreated and untreated mental health issues.
Hospitals refusing to deal with severe mental health problems is like law enforcement refusing to deal with serious criminal problems. This is a very big deal.
Hospitals are being pulled in many directions as the politics of shrinking resources and growing problem populations are stressing already overwhelmed institutions (not just hospitals but schools and other important parts of our community).
The significant change in state policy driven by Sheriff Rich Stanek & other State Sheriff’s* forced the transferring the care of mentally ill people from a policing function to a medical function (2013) and has increased the burden of providing services on already stressed hospitals and medical personnel (thus Brainerd today).
All over America law enforcement has become a defacto substitute for mental health services.
Teachers, foster and adoptive parents are forced to deal with traumatized children and the dangerous behaviors they bring with them in growing numbers.
Our poor substitute for adequate mental health services, is creating fear and reactionary treatment of mentally troubled people by undertrained service providers of every stripe and most seriously, by under-resourced law enforcement personnel.
People of a certain age or race are too often shot or imprisoned because the alternatives and training available to law enforcement don’t exist.
People working with mentally troubled clients in hospitals, schools, law enforcement, foster care or any other service providing capacity face growing danger from an increased level of violence endemic to the growing population of undertreated mental health problems in our communities today.
20,000 one and two-year old children were forced onto psychotropic medications in 2014 and big pharma continues to pay multibillion dollar court ordered fines for illegally selling these drugs to pediatricians for use on very young children.
Our lack of concern and understanding of mental health problems in our community today means that crime rates, graduation rates, public health and public safety for many of us will suffer until the mental health conversation we are not having starts to happen.
Start the conversation where you live. It could one day be someone you know and you will be glad you did.
We owe these sheriffs (and police) our gratitude for effectively standing up for people with mental health issues*.
We should stand up too.