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  •  These two thought-provoking articles... (7+ / 0-)

    highlight how difficult and complex the issues of childhood/ adolescent mental health are and how dealing with this issue is in this country, at this time:  

    'I Am Adam Lanza's Mother':

    ...A Mom's Perspective On The Mental Illness Conversation In America...

    ...I live with a son who is mentally ill. I love my son. But he terrifies me.

    (Note:  Michael is 13 years old)

    ...A few weeks ago, Michael pulled a knife and threatened to kill me and then himself after I asked him to return his overdue library books...

    The mom describes many, many, repeated incidents like the one above.  She describes her struggles with her son's behavior, including years of psychiatric treatment, medication, calling 911 and having her son hospitalized.  

    ...On the intake form, under the question, “What are your expectations for treatment?” I wrote, “I need help.”

    And I do. This problem is too big for me to handle on my own. Sometimes there are no good options. So you just pray for grace and trust that in hindsight, it will all make sense...

    When I asked my son’s social worker about my options, he said that the only thing I could do was to get Michael charged with a crime. “If he’s back in the system, they’ll create a paper trail,” he said. “That’s the only way you’re ever going to get anything done. No one will pay attention to you unless you’ve got charges.

    I don’t believe my son belongs in jail...But it seems like the United States is using prison as the solution of choice for mentally ill...

    This article also is disturbing in many ways: Can You Call a 9-Year-Old a Psychopath?
    For years, Anne and Miguel have struggled to understand their eldest son (Age 9) ...whose periodic rages alternate with moments of chilly detachment...

    Michael’s problems started, according to his mother, around age 3...

    ...When Anne and Miguel first took Michael to see a therapist, he was given a diagnosis of “firstborn syndrome”...

    ...Over the last six years, Michael’s parents have taken him to eight different therapists and received a proliferating number of diagnoses. “We’ve had so many people tell us so many different things,” Anne said. “Oh, it’s A.D.D. — oh, it’s not. It’s depression — or it’s not. You could open the DSM and point to a random thing, and chances are he has elements of it. He’s got characteristics of O.C.D. He’s got characteristics of sensory-integration disorder. Nobody knows what the predominant feature is, in terms of treating him. Which is the frustrating part.”

    Then last spring, the psychologist treating Michael referred his parents to Dan Waschbusch, a researcher at Florida International University. Following a battery of evaluations, Anne and Miguel were presented with another possible diagnosis: their son Michael might be a psychopath....

    The idea that a young child could have psychopathic tendencies remains controversial among psychologists. Laurence Steinberg, a psychologist at Temple University, has argued that psychopathy, like other personality disorders, is almost impossible to diagnose accurately in children, or even in teenagers...

    •  charging sick children with a crime (7+ / 0-)

      Probably the worst thing in the world would be to get a sick child designated delinquent. He will never get help that way. Instead he will be sent to a detention center and then graduate to adult prison. Settle for almost any diagnosis except antisocial personality or its equivalent. often such a diagnosis means "I really hate that kid."Opt for treatment if you have the chance.

    •  Ronald Effing Raygun gutted mental health care (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurious, Ortelius

      and criminalized mental illness by default after shutting down the system in the '70s as Governor of California, S.O.B. He carried that further as president and our 'friends' on the right have continued the narrative into the present; not 'there but for the grace of god go I or mine' but 'I am well because god loves me, and you are not well and to be feared and punished because you are a bad person'. How very 'Christian'.

      Just getting a handle on the knobs and dials.... Hey, don't touch that!

      by Old Lefty on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 02:29:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  "Deinstitutionalization: A Psychiatric... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Old Lefty

        'Titanic" This PBS Frontline report explores the ramifications of deinstitutionalization:  

        ...Deinstitutionalization is the name given to the policy of moving severely mentally ill people out of large state institutions and then closing part or all of those institutions; it has been a major contributing factor to the mental illness crisis...

        The magnitude of deinstitutionalization of the severely mentally ill qualifies it as one of the largest social experiments in American history...

        Thus deinstitutionalization has helped create the mental illness crisis by discharging people from public psychiatric hospitals without ensuring that they received the medication and rehabilitation services necessary for them to live successfully in the community.

        Deinstitutionalization further exacerbated the situation because, once the public psychiatric beds had been closed, they were not available for people who later became mentally ill and this situation continues up to the present. Consequently, approximately 2.2 million severely mentally ill people do not receive any psychiatric treatment...

        One of the factors for deinstitionalization was the poor care and conditions in many of those institutions...
        Deinstitutionalization was based on the principle that severe mental illness should be treated in the least restrictive setting. As further defined by President Jimmy Carter's Commission on Mental Health, this ideology rested on "the objective of maintaining the greatest degree of freedom, self-determination, autonomy, dignity, and integrity of body, mind, and spirit for the individual while he or she participates in treatment or receives services..."8
        But the conundrum is that:  
        ...For a substantial minority, however, deinstitutionalization has been a psychiatric Titanic. Their lives are virtually devoid of "dignity" or "integrity of body, mind, and spirit." "Self-determination" often means merely that the person has a choice of soup kitchens. The "least restrictive setting" frequently turns out to be a cardboard box, a jail cell, or a terror-filled existence plagued by both real and imaginary enemies...
        What Reagan did was open the doors of the institutions, without providing any viable alternatives.  In fact, politicians have now left many of the mentally ill--and their families--with no place to go, without effective resources to deal with their specific issues.

        To add to the dilemma:  Families Mostly Powerless When Mentally Ill Adult Resists Help (Note: "Adult" includes anyone 18 and above)

      •  agreed (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Old Lefty

        As I said, psychiatrists and hospitals hate violent patients.

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