Saturday, January 22, 2011

On Mental Health Issues -- Cont'd Again

[Performance by The Cramps at Napa State Hospital in 1978.]

What we need, of course, is to a return to valuing people, society and the common interest enough to restore access to mental health care services, as part of access to all health care service, to anyone who needs it without so much coercion or complexification that the patient is either forced into inappropriate care or is unable to get care because he or she can't figure out what to do.

But for that to happen, Americans have to once again believe it is in everyone's interests to care for the most vulnerable among us, without basing that "care" on concepts of punishment.

Right now, such mental health care as there is in America is largely chopped up into innumerable clinics, non-profit operations, emergency observation facilities, and so on, each an independent fief, operated first and foremost for the purpose of maintaining funding and personnel. Client services are secondary at best, and that's why this non-system -- as expensive as it is -- doesn't work. It operates for the convenience and profit primarily of administrators.

That has to change.

But it cannot change so long as our value system is continuously demanding the least service for the mentally ill while protecting the providers, and so long as our values are based on punishment and neglect, and not just for the mentally ill.

After the Revolution comes, indeed....

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