(NaturalNews) Call them mentally ill; call them creatively maladjusted or anything you want. There are some people who genuinely struggle and need help coping with issues in their psyche.
We need a decent plan to help these people heal and to enable the ones who may never heal to live with dignity. Regardless of these challenges, the one thing you DON'T do is give these vulnerable folks a one-way ticket to a large, unfamiliar city, put them on the bus and consider it somebody else's problem.
It is called "patient dumping." When a psychiatric hospital doesn't know what to do with a patient, they simply ship them off to another state, without a plan, without resources or anyone to greet them when the bus arrives. Essentially, when they step off the bus, they are homeless.
Add to the mix that these folks are typically broke and with no personal identification, exhausted, confused and drugged, and you have a recipe for disaster. But, at least it's not their former hospital's problem!
This is our mental health system in action
California officials began to investigate a Nevada hospital's busing practices after a patient who was confused and suicidal arrived at a Sacramento homeless facility in February 2013.
The review found that since July 2008, the Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas allegedly bussed more than 1,500 patients to other cities. According to the review, about one-third of such individuals traveled to California. The number of patients sent away on Greyhound Bus Lines increased 66% between 2009 and 2012.
The hospital sent the February patient to Sacramento without making arrangements for treatment or housing. In addition, the patient did not have identification, medication or access to Social Security payments.
The review resulted in several other confirmed cases of patient dumping.
Nevada state officials have now implemented a new policy that requires two physicians instead of one to approve a discharge order for a patient. Nevada officials also said that, effective immediately, a chaperone must accompany any patient with a mental illness discharged from state facilities and sent to locations outside of Nevada. Read more here.
Is there a moral to this story?
Too many to mention! Here are three.
1. Don't assume that any mental hospital is a place of healing. Healing does not happen in mental hospitals.
2. Don't assume mental health workers care about their patients. Often patients are a burden to these workers, who just want them to shut up, calm down or go away.
3. Fight for a new mental health system. This system needs to be based on a completely different paradigm that allows people the opportunity to heal and does not subject them to forced drugging, electro-shock, incarceration and, finally, to be left for dead.
A new, compassionate, largely drug free, conventional psychiatry-free system is possible! There are huge challenges ahead and many, many unanswered questions, but we must square ourselves with the fact that what we've got doesn't work.
It is always a good idea to support organizations groups who advocate for mental health freedom and individual rights, such as:
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