Illness is big bigness and it generates a lot of revenue for Government, yet mental illness is something that is consistently ignored. Because our country is guilty of outsourcing a vast portion of jobs, which used to support the middle class to other countries, We have been left with a majority of the population facing financial and emotional stresses that are very problematic. We have witnessed the systematic destruction of opportunity: for the middle class, the poor, the vulnerable in our society and we have allowed it to happen. How a society treats its youngest, oldest and sickest people is a reflection on how well that society is functioning, and we are not doing very well.
There HAS to be a ground swell of change coming from the majority of people to demand the productive inclusion of people who fall outside of what we have previously had considered normal, healthy and neuro typical. Life has value; even those people who have mental illness. The truth is, most people will struggle with some form of depression or anxiety in their life. Many will be able to deal with it on their own,even if it takes time, because they have the resources and support which supports them. But what happens to the people who don’t have the money to fund or family to help them, get help?
Currently our social system does nothing to support the majority of people with disabilities to ensure they don’t slip into a crisis. There are precious few programs in place that deal with prevention of problems and instead we are left with Social Service programs that deal with intervention simply because it’s a quantitative number which can be used to prove need, when measured by Government funding policies to determine how much money they will allocate for future programming.
This leaves a massive void for families who are struggling with how to care for their loved ones who either don’t qualify for help or are wait listed for the few and mostly inadequate services, that are in place, even if they have the money to fund it privately. There is a need for massive social programs to handle psychiatric issues that involve more than simply medicating someone until they can’t function. There is a void between what people need to be productive and succeed and what we have as a stop measure to deal with the mentally ill, after a problem occurs.
We have to stop shifting blame onto Police, Social Workers, Teachers and Corrections Officers, who are ONLY allowed to follow or enforce the law; we have to CHANGE the law so that mental illness is treated proactively and supported by the community. This will stimulate infrastructure and create jobs, which will reduce the amount society pays to ensure their basic care over time. Many mentally ill if left untreated, will eventually behave in ways which will require intervention. Yet most of them who are stable neither belong in prisons which are ill equipped to handle them or in a mental hospital where they rely mainly on medication to control them, yet that’s where they will end up.
When we as a society, allow a person who has a mental illness to go without treatment, when we give their right to refuse treatment priority over societies need to have them stable and not become a risk to others, then we have failed them by giving their rights and freedom more value over the society that they live in. Giving a mentally ill person the right to become violent and potentially harm others, so that they can locked up for treatment afterwards, is not an infringement on their basic human rights as our Government seems to believe it is.
It’s been proven time and again that when a mentally ill person goes off needed medication they can potentially become a threat to themselves or others. If they show a pattern of behaviour consistent with episodic violence, then why are they allowed the freedom to harm others? Harming others isn’t a choice for them, as it is with sociopaths. Mentally ill people technically aren’t responsible for their actions when off medication. But it won’t be any solace to the families of people a mentally ill person may hurt or kill while in the middle of a psychiatric breakdown.
There are times when the sentient have to manage those who are struggling with their mental illnesses, before they get into a crisis, so that we can avoid disastrous consequences. It’s very clear that the mentally ill don’t belong in prison with people who have broken the laws on purpose. They don’t belong in a facility where they don’t learn the skills they need to function in our society. Yet we also have to be aware that if a person who is in the middle of a psychotic episode does in fact kill someone, we can no longer give them the freedom of their past, even though their is an explanation for their actions.
We need to develop a complete program of inclusion where the majority of the mentally ill are taught, managed and supported to find meaningful work and to be as fully functioning as their particular issue allows. The only time that prison should be an option, is for the Mentally ill who end up killing or injuring someone because they have gone off their medication and even then it should be with the purpose of monitoring required medication intake in conjunction to regular therapy. This is not a burden on the taxpayer, but a way to decrease the long term reliance of incarceration or hospitalization as a means to house the mentally ill until they die, having never truly lived to their potential.