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raisedbyignorance
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29 Mar 2013, 9:19 am

With all this talk about reopening mental hospitals everytime someone goes on a killing spree (which we can expect to be the norm) I question the idea whenever I look up stuff about mental hospitals. The closest personal experience I've had was spending a 24hr period in my university hospital's mental ward for a suicide crisis.

I've come to the realization that many who are even considering the idea have never had to step foot in one and therefore are trapped in the old school mentality of what mental hospitals are like...the kind you would see in movies or in historical accounts. These kinds of mental hospitals are seen more as a dumping ground for the mentally ill than they are an actual place to get treated, IMO. Many patients often get stuck in a corral with other mentally ill patients of a different condition. This can be very bad if one goes violent on another patient that isn't violent. In other cases, the patients could be spending the rest of their lives there not getting any actual treatment.

Why does this tick me off so much? Because I think the public only wants these mental hospitals to get rid of us (to cut us off from society) rather than use them as actual facilities where the mentally ill can actually get better. True, there are a handful of mentally ill people that can not be cured. But shouldn't the purpose of a mental facility be to treat people, not imprison them? The public wants all those ghetto mental facilities that Reagan closed down to be reopen without any consideration for where are they going to get the resources and psychiatric doctors needed to run these facilities efficiently. (Just watch them cry "we're in a recession. We don't got the money to pay for doctors!") In fact I'm willing to bet that many of them had to be closed down due to a lack of those resources and expertise in the first place. Open these facilities now, I could see parents of children with manageable conditions like autism dumping their kids off at these facilities with no consideration for whether they will ever get any proper treatment there.

And there's another irony to it all. If Adam Lanza's only major medical problem was having Asperger's, having him institutionalized would not have helped him. If anything it would've only made his symptoms worse. Has anyone noticed that aside from getting the actual diagnosis, there is little to no mention of what kind of treatment that Lanza was getting after being diagnosed with AS? Was there any effort other than the threat of dumping him off at the mental institution? Honestly, nothing pisses me off more than how parents treat the mental facility as a last resort (or for some, their first) for their children, especially those with autism. You know that Lisa Long blog "I am Adam Lanza's mother"? The lady is dumb as a brick the way that she has been managing her kid's autism by constantly dumping him off at the mental hospital everytime he got out of line. Is this the kind of "catch-all" solution we want to encourage in our society?

I'm also thinking that Lanza's parents have pretty much managed their son's autism the way my parents did...sweep it all under the rug once diagnosed, let the situation managed itself, and continue to use discipline as a medicine other than seeking actual treatment and expertise. It's a concept that I fear many other children with autism have been living under and when the parents are frustrated with lack of results, it's off to the crazy house for them. When I was at college I did seek therapy without my parents knowing but considering it was university counselors, the treatments and sessions where pretty lousy and lazy. As much I would consider therapy again, I've come to the realization that I could manage my autism far better than the actual "experts" can anyway. But that shouldn't deter the need to get more people in the industry who can understand and work with autistic people. That will always be a necessity even if most of them aren't really good at it to begin with.

But this bring about the point again: the mental facilities are not worth much without actual professionals working there to help and understand the patients. And if people really are serious about reopening the mental hospitals, they need to also reconsider the idea of fixing the way these hospitals are managed. Create different wings for people based on their conditions, engage the patients in activities that will help in treating their conditions, guarantee each patient at least one session a week with a professional, always consider the safety of every patient in regards to their condition. Do you think people really want to put the money and time into all of those things? Me personally, I think improving the overall way the mental facilities are managed are far more important than having the actual mental facilities available themselves. Treating them like jails will never solve the patients needs and could in the long run drain more tax money. Before long, people will say "we can't deal with funding these facilities anymore. Can't we just kill the patients since they're being a drain on society?"

That may be a harsh idea, but so is the idea of registering every person in America whose ever had a mental illness or institutionalizing all autistics and aspies and those two ideas are actually being considered.

Is the problem really "lack of facilities" or is the problem really "lack of resources and professionals to help"? You decide.



Fnord
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29 Mar 2013, 9:52 am

raisedbyignorance wrote:
Is reopening the mental hospitals really a good idea?

Has it been proven that pushing mentally ill people out onto the street to fend for themselves without supervision is really a good idea?

Lock 'em up, dope 'em up, and keep 'em outta trouble.



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29 Mar 2013, 9:54 am

It seems like more resources could help people instead of leaving them to be drifters. I don't doubt though that you raise a good point and these need to be real hospitals not long term jails.

We do need to be sure people are being helped and not exploited. Even care for the elderly comes with risk. These places need to be transparent and their residents must receive the kind of care they need.



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29 Mar 2013, 12:56 pm

A commitment to mental health needs to be across the board. Better facilities, better doctors, better medicine and a focus on getting better, with an understanding some people might not.

There can be no other option. We can't continue to allow the crazies to run free. Even if the FBI took every gun out of civilian hands, they'd still find ways to kill and hurt people.



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29 Mar 2013, 1:00 pm

Was Adam Lanza actually diagnosed with AS? From all the articles I read at the time of the killing I was unable to find any evidence that the AS connection amounted to much more than speculation on the part of his estranged brother, and the fact that police found a couple of books about it in his house. It seems to me as though the main problem here was that his other had a large collection of guns which she didn't keep adequately locked up - and that she evidently saw no danger in giving him money to buy ammunition for himself.


Whilst I agree with the fact that people with mental health issues shouldn't be locked up and kept away from society, I've also seen plenty of evidence that "care in the community" - as our ex-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher marketed it - doesn't work either. Some people with severe mental health problems are simply unable to take care of themselves and deal with day-to-day practicalities top the point where hospitalisation - not necessarily permanent - is the only option .

I don't know how things are across the pond, but here in the UK it's very rare nowadays for mentally ill people to be locked up permanently, even if their problems are long-term and life-threatening. They're more likely to be homeless or at best in sheltered accomodation - although the latter is also becoing increasingly hard to come by as our government looks for any available excuse to slash public spending.



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29 Mar 2013, 1:47 pm

I dont have an issue with mental health facilities being reopened as long as they are not like they were in the past, mistreatment and abuse of patients. As long as patients are treated with respect, the family has a strong say, and if patients are provided with all needed resources. And the focus should be getting the patients back into the community if they are able to. It should not be...a dumping ground to mistreat the mentally ill and get them out of the community and let them die slow and painful deaths in unsanitary, torturous enviorenments. And they should not have no rights and be subject to dangerous human scientific experiaments.



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30 Mar 2013, 9:41 am

Fnord wrote:
raisedbyignorance wrote:
Is reopening the mental hospitals really a good idea?

Has it been proven that pushing mentally ill people out onto the street to fend for themselves without supervision is really a good idea?

Lock 'em up, dope 'em up, and keep 'em outta trouble.


This.

The purpose of "lunatic asylums" was never to help the mentally ill.

It was to warehouse them, to keep them off the street, out of sight, someplace where they wouldn't be annoying the nice normal people or making anyone uncomfortable.

Yeah, I think it's a good idea. I'd feel better knowing that, if I can't cut it here, I could at least look forward to a bed and a hot meal. I'd certainly feel better if I knew there were some place my son could be locked up if I do not succeed into beating him into conformity enough that he can look forward to a living wage and the sense to stay out of relationships.

Look-- we're not going to make the mentally ill and developmentally disabled consistently "normal" enough for normal people to be comfortable with us. We're not going to make normal people tolerant enough to allow us to exist in their midst with even harmless eccentricities.

I know it's not idealistcally pleasant, but the fact is that the idealism of the last few decades didn't work.

Institutions, lobotomies, chemical and physical restraint, punitive "interventions," altruistic homicide, infanticide-- these things were the way of life for centuries, and I really believe they're the way of the future, too.


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30 Mar 2013, 11:28 am

I was about to say that I doubt we're going back to those times... but then I remembered that some people are seriously proposing "after-birth abortion" (which is infanticide by another name), physical restraints and electric shocks are allowed in America,a standard way of dealing with people who are considered troublesome is to dope them up. So no, we're not going back to those times, I don't think we actually left them.

We probably do need supported living arrangements, but not necessarily the old mental hospitals. There's a better way than that, there always is.


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30 Mar 2013, 12:49 pm

BuyerBeware wrote:
Fnord wrote:
raisedbyignorance wrote:
Is reopening the mental hospitals really a good idea?

Has it been proven that pushing mentally ill people out onto the street to fend for themselves without supervision is really a good idea?

Lock 'em up, dope 'em up, and keep 'em outta trouble.


This.

The purpose of "lunatic asylums" was never to help the mentally ill.

It was to warehouse them, to keep them off the street, out of sight, someplace where they wouldn't be annoying the nice normal people or making anyone uncomfortable.

Yeah, I think it's a good idea. I'd feel better knowing that, if I can't cut it here, I could at least look forward to a bed and a hot meal. I'd certainly feel better if I knew there were some place my son could be locked up if I do not succeed into beating him into conformity enough that he can look forward to a living wage and the sense to stay out of relationships.

Look-- we're not going to make the mentally ill and developmentally disabled consistently "normal" enough for normal people to be comfortable with us. We're not going to make normal people tolerant enough to allow us to exist in their midst with even harmless eccentricities.

I know it's not idealistcally pleasant, but the fact is that the idealism of the last few decades didn't work.

Institutions, lobotomies, chemical and physical restraint, punitive "interventions," altruistic homicide, infanticide-- these things were the way of life for centuries, and I really believe they're the way of the future, too.


That doesn't mean we should all be locked up and drugged, I agree sometimes it might be necessary for an amount of time. Like I went to the psych ward when I was thinking of suicide it kept me safe for a time which is a good thing. But after the crisis was over I needed to get out of there for one there wasn't even a yard to get supervised outside time being cooped up inside me drives me freaking insane so yeah if I was still there I'd be worse.

Locking up the mentally ill and essentially throwing away the key is no solution at all, especially if the only justification someone can offer is 'well the nitpicky little 'normal' people cannot tolerate any deviance fromt their perceived norms.' that is a terrible justification for completely stripping one of all their rights and personal freedoms for a mental illness they didn't choose to have.....also mental illnesses can be managed outside of an institution.

Something between hospitalization and simply leaving one with severe symptoms to just fend for themself if they can't.......like a medium ground is probably better but thats preposterous its gotta be one extreme or the other.

Now I remember why I stopped going on forums so much :shrug:, there's healthier things to do.


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30 Mar 2013, 3:39 pm

I doubt any effective measures will be taken to prevent another Sandy Hook disaster. People crave disaster. It keeps their lives interesting. It gives people the opportunity to project their dissatisfaction with their lives onto the individual responsible and other people of similar status, in the form of hatred. It also gives people the opportunity to feel empathy for the victims. People like feeling empathy. Because of this disaster, a large amount of Americans, as well as people of other nationalities, probably had a stronger emotional life and felt a greater sense of purpose in the weeks following the disaster than they would have if it had not happened. If anything is done, it will most likely be either something that enables people to express hatred or to express empathy. Things that enable people to express empathy aren't always effective solutions. That just means that they want to see someone in a lowly state that they can feel sorry for. They don't truly want to help them. They might even try to put someone in that lowly state to begin with, just for that purpose. Maybe their "prevention" efforts will even result in another disaster. A lot of people would like that, for reasons I've already mentioned.



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02 Apr 2013, 9:57 am

raisedbyignorance wrote:
With all this talk about reopening mental hospitals everytime someone goes on a killing spree (which we can expect to be the norm) I question the idea whenever I look up stuff about mental hospitals. The closest personal experience I've had was spending a 24hr period in my university hospital's mental ward for a suicide crisis.

I've come to the realization that many who are even considering the idea have never had to step foot in one and therefore are trapped in the old school mentality of what mental hospitals are like...the kind you would see in movies or in historical accounts. These kinds of mental hospitals are seen more as a dumping ground for the mentally ill than they are an actual place to get treated, IMO. Many patients often get stuck in a corral with other mentally ill patients of a different condition. This can be very bad if one goes violent on another patient that isn't violent. In other cases, the patients could be spending the rest of their lives there not getting any actual treatment.

Why does this tick me off so much? Because I think the public only wants these mental hospitals to get rid of us (to cut us off from society) rather than use them as actual facilities where the mentally ill can actually get better. True, there are a handful of mentally ill people that can not be cured. But shouldn't the purpose of a mental facility be to treat people, not imprison them? The public wants all those ghetto mental facilities that Reagan closed down to be reopen without any consideration for where are they going to get the resources and psychiatric doctors needed to run these facilities efficiently. (Just watch them cry "we're in a recession. We don't got the money to pay for doctors!") In fact I'm willing to bet that many of them had to be closed down due to a lack of those resources and expertise in the first place. Open these facilities now, I could see parents of children with manageable conditions like autism dumping their kids off at these facilities with no consideration for whether they will ever get any proper treatment there.

And there's another irony to it all. If Adam Lanza's only major medical problem was having Asperger's, having him institutionalized would not have helped him. If anything it would've only made his symptoms worse. Has anyone noticed that aside from getting the actual diagnosis, there is little to no mention of what kind of treatment that Lanza was getting after being diagnosed with AS? Was there any effort other than the threat of dumping him off at the mental institution? Honestly, nothing pisses me off more than how parents treat the mental facility as a last resort (or for some, their first) for their children, especially those with autism. You know that Lisa Long blog "I am Adam Lanza's mother"? The lady is dumb as a brick the way that she has been managing her kid's autism by constantly dumping him off at the mental hospital everytime he got out of line. Is this the kind of "catch-all" solution we want to encourage in our society?

I'm also thinking that Lanza's parents have pretty much managed their son's autism the way my parents did...sweep it all under the rug once diagnosed, let the situation managed itself, and continue to use discipline as a medicine other than seeking actual treatment and expertise. It's a concept that I fear many other children with autism have been living under and when the parents are frustrated with lack of results, it's off to the crazy house for them. When I was at college I did seek therapy without my parents knowing but considering it was university counselors, the treatments and sessions where pretty lousy and lazy. As much I would consider therapy again, I've come to the realization that I could manage my autism far better than the actual "experts" can anyway. But that shouldn't deter the need to get more people in the industry who can understand and work with autistic people. That will always be a necessity even if most of them aren't really good at it to begin with.

But this bring about the point again: the mental facilities are not worth much without actual professionals working there to help and understand the patients. And if people really are serious about reopening the mental hospitals, they need to also reconsider the idea of fixing the way these hospitals are managed. Create different wings for people based on their conditions, engage the patients in activities that will help in treating their conditions, guarantee each patient at least one session a week with a professional, always consider the safety of every patient in regards to their condition. Do you think people really want to put the money and time into all of those things? Me personally, I think improving the overall way the mental facilities are managed are far more important than having the actual mental facilities available themselves. Treating them like jails will never solve the patients needs and could in the long run drain more tax money. Before long, people will say "we can't deal with funding these facilities anymore. Can't we just kill the patients since they're being a drain on society?"

That may be a harsh idea, but so is the idea of registering every person in America whose ever had a mental illness or institutionalizing all autistics and aspies and those two ideas are actually being considered.

Is the problem really "lack of facilities" or is the problem really "lack of resources and professionals to help"? You decide.
Putting in a mental institution should only be used long term if they keep coming back and nothing else seems to work as a measure of last resort and if they are making a whole family miserable. It is not a cure all but a drastic measure. IF they cause stress and make other family members problems worse being at home who might have autism or aspergers who really is benefitting.



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02 Apr 2013, 10:12 pm

BuyerBeware wrote:
Fnord wrote:
raisedbyignorance wrote:
Is reopening the mental hospitals really a good idea?

Has it been proven that pushing mentally ill people out onto the street to fend for themselves without supervision is really a good idea?

Lock 'em up, dope 'em up, and keep 'em outta trouble.


This.

The purpose of "lunatic asylums" was never to help the mentally ill.

It was to warehouse them, to keep them off the street, out of sight, someplace where they wouldn't be annoying the nice normal people or making anyone uncomfortable.

Yeah, I think it's a good idea. I'd feel better knowing that, if I can't cut it here, I could at least look forward to a bed and a hot meal. I'd certainly feel better if I knew there were some place my son could be locked up if I do not succeed into beating him into conformity enough that he can look forward to a living wage and the sense to stay out of relationships.

Look-- we're not going to make the mentally ill and developmentally disabled consistently "normal" enough for normal people to be comfortable with us. We're not going to make normal people tolerant enough to allow us to exist in their midst with even harmless eccentricities.

I know it's not idealistcally pleasant, but the fact is that the idealism of the last few decades didn't work.

Institutions, lobotomies, chemical and physical restraint, punitive "interventions," altruistic homicide, infanticide-- these things were the way of life for centuries, and I really believe they're the way of the future, too.


What? Even if this is true now, it only becomes the way of the future if people keep believing this. Many of the mentally ill can become better (or more 'normal', though I'd rather not use that word due to ambiguity), especially with more and proper support. Of course tolerance from other people is important as well, but as people understand mental conditions better I see it improving. People with mental illnesses have just as much right to live a satisfactory life as anyone else - regardless of whether this actually happens or not we must not give up on them and believe what happens now will stay that way, otherwise nothing will ever improve.


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02 Apr 2013, 10:32 pm

There are some disorders that really have no cure and some people are so violent that it's impossible to keep them from hurting themselves or others unless they are restrained, drugged or both. Others who are catatonic and who haven't responded to any ongoing treatment for a period of time may simply not be ever going to respond at all and only need life and health sustaining treatment such as food, hygiene, fresh air, stimulation like conversation or touch, but not specialists.

I wouldn't think anybody is advocating putting people with AS or autism in insane asylums, or people with depression, bipolar, anxiety disorders, even schizophrenics or multiples or borderlines or sociopaths in there. I think the idea of the insane asylum is that it's a last resort where people can be kept safe and taken care of when everything that could be tried to help them has been tried and they have such a severe problem that they cannot live in the free world at all.

I think it's also where they put people who are found not guilty by reason of insanity and I don't have much of a problem with locking murderers up in one.


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04 Apr 2013, 4:04 pm

Exactly. Giving parents and loved ones an option when they can't safely care for someone.

There are some bad disorders out there and there are situations where institutions are appropriate.