So this *****. About 2 months ago I had a neighbor who was Bipolar, unmedicated and psychotic and on drugs. Some of you might have heard about this because it made national news. His parents had been trying to get him help for years. They could not afford him medication or to have him committed. They were not able to get him disability or medical insurance (Washington state is just about the worst state for medical help). The local sheriff here new him very well and tried on numerous occasions to help him. He would not except help either. He refused medications, the list goes on and on. Well, I don't want to get into too much detail, but one day he went to the next door neighbors and killed him. His mom knew something was seriously wrong so she called the cops and the deputy went to the house. She was shot and killed too. He then went to the next house, shot a man outside, the wife was pulling up and he ran up and killed her. So he goes to the next house. He kills two construction workers, takes their vehicle, goes to the local gas station not far away and shoots a guy on a motorcycle. He then jumps on the freeway and drives up to another motorists and shoots and kills him. Then he drives himself to the police station and turns himself in. Horrible story. Shook everyone up.
There was also a guy who was schizophrenic in Seattle who randomly killed a lady on New Years.
Now the reason i'm writing this is because Washington State is trying to pass a law where people with serious psychiatric disorders must register with the state so they can keep and eye on us. Like we are criminals. This horrible incident was isolated and tragic. I do not, under any cicumstances feel the government has a right to do this. I think they are trying to do the same thing in New Jersey and New York? It is truly a violation of my human rights. I am not violent, I take my medications, the works. I am an active person in the community. I feel like this is taking 50 steps back. Now, I understand the victims families wanting something done for this but everyday there are people out there who are perfectly healthy and kill much more. They might as well start giving labotomies and institutionalizing people indefinately again. This would mean we would basically have to register the same way a sex offender would. To me this is truly disturbing!
For many of us on the outside looking in you appear to have collectively handed over your freedom sometime after september 11 and have been letting it get more and more pervading ever since then to the point now where some of the things i read make it hard to believe I am reading about the US and not the USSR in the 80's.
Thankfully our governments in Australia have not tried 99% of this stuff despite the current waste of money being spent on a trial of internet filtering which will fail.
My opinion is you need to organise and speak to your local politicians but that might be hard to do for people who do not want to come out as mentallly ill. Ultimately I think the American people need to stop letting their government scare and bully them into submission and stand up for their rights before they lose them - you mentioned the sex offenders registry and its worth looking at just how little it takes to get on that register in some states - there are legion cases such as the girl who was 17 and had sex with her boyfriend who was 16 and is now stuck as a sex offender for life despite consent.
BTW what do they define as serious psychiatric disorders?
I'm not really sure. I do know for a fact that schizophrenia and bipolar are on the list. I will look into it more. This is a program they are thinking about doing. I think they feel they need to do something but are seeing the obvious in front of them. Give people who are mentally ill access to medications. The only problem is making them take them.
Wow, that is terrifying. What year are we living in? I hope the mental health advocates in those areas are working to stop those laws from passing. If I lived in those states, I would be working to stop that. I am glad I live in California - I don't think a law like that would pass here. And if it did, I would move.
You are exactly right, they are treating us like sex offenders. These people need to look at the statistics. There are far more people with mental illnesses that are stable, law-abiding citizens than the ones who go on rampages. Unfortunately it is those few individuals who continue to make the rest of us look bad. If these laws get passed, I can guarantee there would be less people getting help, especially the ones who really need it. When that happens, there will be many more incidences like the ones you mentioned.
Its not hard for me as a person with schizoaffective disorder who has been publicly identified as recovered by multiple providers. I've managed to accomplish many systems changes but I can't post them here because they are confidential within the agency I volunteer as board president of. I would be more than happy to write a letter to whoever is sponsporing the legislation and the fact is that kind of legislation doesn't work. I've spoken to my psychopharmocologist and he follows standard psychiatric practice and agrees with that. I don't speak on behalf of him but as regards common sense the isolated incidents of violence with people with psychiatric disabilities are often caused by the lack of available medical coverage and also it should be obvious to the sponsors of the legislation that people can often commit crimes before they are diagnosed not after they are taking medication. Please post the legislation (if its too long, a search that will call it up) and the sponsor. I'm also on a disability networking group. I can forward the information to them. It should be noted that the networking group of which I am part of that I cannot name is pro-treatment and in no manner anti-psychiatry. But this law sounds abusive and unconstitutional but I'd have to read the details before I could make a public statement which would be done outside of the site. Thanks for letting me know.
And look up the "National Empowerment Center". I'm in no way involved with them but they should be informed as well. You could send them an e-mail with the details.
Maybe we can give the mentally ill a badge so we can identify them?
It all sounds so much like Nazi germany and it makes me wonder how long before the suggestions of sterilisation to stop genetically passing on diseases starts. Dont't laugh - there are already suggestions to sterilise those convicted of sexual offences in some countries and parts of the US; you would better hope you are really guilty..
Sorry this all disgusts and horrifies me - America is a country founded on the highest ideals, I have a copy of the bill of rights and declaration of independance on the wall at home and it saddens me to see the america descend into what it has become in so many ways - a budding police state with laws like the Patriot Act used as weapons and governments cracking down on anyone who does not fit the moral majority norms, heaven help you if youre not christian and heterosexual and sane.
I have to agree with Monkey - should we have badges like my jewish family members have? I think not.
What I do think is the system fails these people. If someone is that violent, it's not usually just BP or Schizophrenia, it's a combination of diagnoses, and it makes the BP folks even more stigamtized. Drug non-compliance is part of the illness. It should be recognized as part of it. It's pathetic the state this man lived in did nothing, but the police departments are stretched beyond belief. I worked for one in my local area.
The US is one of the worst of the First World countries at handling at need mentally ill persons. I'm very lucky to live in Canada, albeit they closed down a lot of institutions, but if you really ask for help you will get it and we have specific areas of our police dept, to handle mentally ill people. We are one of the few that do that. They have an officer trained in mental illness, alongside a social worker, so it there is a specific call with a disturbed or someone really acting out, they are called out. shoving these folks in a jail cell is not the answer. Sometimes institutionalization is the only way, but lobotomizing and mentally neutering patients I pray won't be the US's next step. We'll be back to the 1940's again.
Right. But in this case we can make a statement. We can write to the legislature involved why we think its wrong. And we most certainly don't have to identify as having a psychiatric disability. I will. But others don't have to. Is this the standard outpatient committment bill that has passed almost all states that even my provider says is "useless"? Or is it something else? Someone post some information to where I can find the details of the law. And then I certainly write a letter and let other advocacy agencies know. This goes beyond any outpatient committment law from what you are detailing. And its disturbing that Washington state legalized physician assisted suicide. That does not show a very high opinion of people with disabilities. But I can't guesstimate what this law says. Someone post some info. on where I can find it. Then I will let other agencies know. I'd really appreciate. Don't underestimate our voice!!
There is no law on this yet. It is something that is being considered in several states. Remember the Virginia massacre? They are trying to do something about that as well. I don't think it is constitutional and I don't think they will be able to pass a bill like this. But on the other hand, who knows anymore. This country is definatly not what it used to be. ILADVOCATE, I personally believe in physician assisted suicide. I voted for the bill and am glad it got passed. People should have that right. To die with dignity if that is what you choose. For our government to say no about what we want to do to our own bodies isn't right. I know I wouldn't want to suffer. I personally wouldn't do it, but i'm glad I have the option if I change my mind. Getting off subject. I'm going to look into this in more detail and see what I can find. I will also ask my Pdoc. He's knows so much about mental health laws, state and federal. Like I said before, I don't think it's even constitutional for them to do this but the fact its even a topic of discussion is pretty disturbing to me.
I also want to say that I have regular medical insurance. It doesn't cover hardly anything and I pay $242 a month for it. Lamictal, generic is $232.00. My insurance company cut me off for the rest of the year. Even if you have insurance, it covers nothing really. State insurance is much worse. You can apply for state insurance and if they deny you (which they usually do), you can't even re-appy for 6 months. I had two hospital stays last year, my insurance would not cover it (it was out of network) and i'm stuck with a $20,000 bill. No wonder people are hesitant to even get help. Something is seriously wrong here. The Federal Bill that was passed for 2010, only applies to people who are covered by their employer. So that excludes my because I own my own business and pay independently. I cried when I read the bill. What a bummer. Thanks for everything George Bush!
Thanks. Any information would be appreciated. Unfortunately we can't determine if its constitutional of course as citizens. The courts must determine that. And sometimes their decisions don't always go the right way. But sometimes they do more than expected. Look up "The Olmstead Decision". Two people who had developmental disabilities wanted to get out of an institution and they were able to live in the community. It was not a problem of symptoms remaining. But there were no community placements. The protest went up to the Supreme Court. I was there at the protest in Washington D.C. along with a friend in 1999 and the Supreme Court sided with us. Now people with disabilities must live in the "least restrictive setting" by law. I cite that law all the time in order to encourage community placement.
And as for the issue of physician assisted suicide its a touchy one and I don't disrespect you for how you voted. If someone is in severe pain and its the end of their life its understandable. Its only when people say "I wouldn't want to be a burden on other people". That should never be a factor. I have a friend with muscular dystrophy and she said that when things get bad towards the end of her life (like her mother hooked up to a respirator) she would want it ended and its her decision and I wouldn't want it taken away from her. With my physical disability though I did have suicidal ideations at the beginning from the severe pain and spasms but finally I said "no matter what happens I'd want to be around always". Having two near death experiences only made me appreciate life more. But I could see how someone could feel differently. We all choose our own path. As long as its not chosen for us, I would not take away someone's decision.
Oh and thanks for looking up the information for me in advance. I know that my advocacy take on issues is a bit different from how other people see things and one that not all people have to accept but one that doesn't contradict what our doctors and psychiatrists reccomend for us but is just another civil rights movement. All I can say there is nothing to fear. But if we don't speak out as with any other injustice there is. Always.
Responding to your other post. I would say that Obama has taken a stronger stance both on health care and disability rights. He promised to pass the Community Choice Act which the disability community pushed for, for years (look that up as well, try the Adapt website). No need for any discussion if you are more conservative on other issues and don't support him for that reason. But as for disability issues he has taken a strong and specific stance. The mental health parity bill could be changed to be stronger. Remember even if one is a conservative and a patriot it says on the immigration test as a question "What is the American government for?" Answer: "to serve the people". The federal government wrote that document. Well we can't let them know what we want the future of America to be if we don't speak out. Even in e-mailing or writing our local public officials who are more receptive than you might think. And that's not just a disability issue. There are millions of Americans without health care. Clearly they are going to write up a national health insurance but what do we want out of it? A stronger version of mental health parity for starters. Anyway, you never know what politicians will do. Its surprising Bush signed it at all. These are specific and practical things all of us can speak out for. And all of us need.
Oh and as for a denial in insurance coverage, one word: appeal! I am appealing coverage for Zofran for tardive dyskinesia for Medicare Part D and have helped many people with appeals. I see people get denials for all kinds of benefits all the time. Its meant to discourage people and if taken through the various levels of appeals the decision is usually reversed.
I am so glad I found this forum. I had no idea such a law was even being considered. How frightening! Part of the problem with treatment is that there isn't enough funding for it and no one wants to pay more taxes. All the economic instability only makes things worse, but even when times are better people simply don't want a tax increase. I think money is a huge part of the equation. I live in a state where we cannot raise taxes unless the taxpayers approve it. This doesn't happen often and it has resulted in our local police, fire and health department getting funding cuts - city and county. Money is one of the top barriers for any kind of medical treatment. Mental illness and substance abuse are just not priorities until Joe Taxpayer is directly affected - and by then it's often a matter for the courts. There is something about treatment and prevention programs that isn't nearly as appealing as throwing folks in jail, I guess.
Part of the thing is that the rise in drug abuse with drugs such as meth and ice has also lead to a rise in manic and psychotic actions and episodes - while the vast majority of bipolars are not dangerous some of us are just as some schizophrenics are for example and the bad examples get attention.
As an australian what amazes me is one person kills a few people and you want to bring in a law locking up anyone who acts crazy and yet wont for a second consider tighter controls on guns which kill far more people than anything else in your country - not to sound all anti gun but I cant for the life of me work out how many of your kids need to be gunned down in their schools and universities before someone works out you have a problem.
I don't know about the connection with meth and ice making things worse recently. I'd have to see some hard numbers. Meth was around in the 80's and everybody knew then that users could get violent or have psychotic breaks, even those without any kind of mental health issue. There was also cocaine and, of course, alcohol. I think a lot of people who are bipolar always had the urge to self-medicate one way or another, so you could probably link a lot of drunk driving deaths with it, too. (I can see the government trying to stop us all from driving. Sigh...) It would be interesting to look at the trends on that and see if/how much worse things have actually gotten. I think another likely explanation is that we have become extremely concerned about gun violence after all the massacres in places we never expected - schools, stores, etc. Some of those people have somehow become glamorous or admirable to a certain segment of society. The pervasive fear of terrorism doesn't help and that is a great excuse to strip people of their civil rights. If you object, you're suspect. The last articles I read consistently indicated that in most places in the US the crime rate was actually getting lower every year. You'd never know that if you watched our TV news channels. One incident in one town can keep an entire country mesmerized for days. That plays into the hands of those who want to keep us focused on the negative and it gives them another excuse to take away the rights that they find inconvenient. To me, this whole thing smacks of trying to convince people they're protected when they aren't protected. Kinda like airport security.
Re: Guns... I was *almost* waiting for that. I'm married to a Kiwi, so it's been a topic of conversation for years. The gun stuff is beyond me. I don't see where they're necessary and I think far too many children (and adults) are injured or killed accidentally. Personally, I don't want one at all. Might use it on someone! In all seriousness, I think it's more a cultural/social problem than gun availability. If it were guns, Canadians would be dropping like flies. I hate to be devil's advocate about guns because I am openly anti-gun (and pro gun control), but it pains me even more to think that there is something unhealthy going on that's even more pervasive in American culture. I don't think a lot of people value life, liberty, etc. as much as we once did. People don't value each other. This is not a mass condemnation of my fellow citizens. Obviously, there are good people out there.
What that particular individual did was horrible. The fact that it was allowed to get to that point is the tragedy from which we should learn. But, if there's an excuse to play McCarthy, there's someone who will take the role. Sad. I don't think there's an easy explanation for these types of crimes. If we could eliminate one thing, we would save some lives. I think there is a lot more at work than guns, though. I'd like to see concentration on treatment and rehab programs, first and foremost. If we had psych treatment and drug rehab, we could stop a lot of this from happening.
It's sad that because of 1 incident - they would even consider putting the "Scarlett Letter" on mentally ill. This is a huge step backward for the mentally ill.
People have to see that mentally ill - does not equate to evil.
SURELY, this won't pass. It would have such horrible impacts on an already messed up system here.
Like Monkey - I think after 9/11, we lost a lot of our liberties, and honestly, some common sense - for the "greater good". That was ensured with the passing of the Patriot Act...
I think the MAJOR issue is when in the original issue was, "His parents had been trying to get him help for years. They could not afford him medication or to have him committed. They were not able to get him disability or medical insurance" - We should be putting the "Scarlett Letter" on the Nation for not SCREAMING for health care reform. It's easy to place blame on the illness - why not try to find an answer before you throw the baby out with the bath water. GOOD LORD! The actions of the person were horrible - we as a community for Mental Illness - shouldn't be blamed for 1 person's actions.
wow, that is terrible. it will prevent people from seeking out help or getting diagnosed. they won't want to be "stigmatized" and then you might actually have an increase in problems because people will not be getting medical help or getting their meds. how counter productive.
I would love to read the information about the legislation. Can you give me a link or something?
I googled and found the killings. This just kills me! I saw a psychiatric review that said that there is no more likelihood for a mentally ill patient to be violent than a "non-mentally ill" person. I would be interested to see the legislation info.
Gee Whiz! Like Jen - this country never ceases to amaze or embarrass....
There is no legislation on it as of yet, that i know of. I think it's still in the what the heck do we do stage. This seems like our only solution. 50 steps backwards. ILADVOCATE found some stuff on it. I heard it on the news or somewhere. I do know that I heard it several times. New York, New Jersey, Virginia (school shootings). I know that schools are legally aloud to ask if you have a mental illness upon applying. They are also well within their rights to refuse you if you are mentally ill. ILADVOCATE was saying he found that they were considering this with mentally ill people with a history of violence. Where I live the police department has a list of people with violent tendencies. The man who did these killings was arrested like 50 times and was never put on that list. He did have a huge history of violence. Anyways, I will see if I can find something more substantial that hearsay and get back to everyone. I really, really don't think something like this could pass. I could see if the person has a strong history of violence but it doesn't matter. The kid that shot all those people in Virginia never had a history of violence at all. What does that say. People kill everyday. We just get glorified when things happen because of our wonderful media and the stigma thats comes with it.
This is horrible. I googled and found out about the killings and a legislation in Washington a few years ago about the mentally ill - but wanted to look further. I am sure that Washington isn't the only place with this kind of thinking. It's sad.
There are evil people of all kinds. We have a preacher's wife from TN that got a slap on the risk and was sane.....
I did a lot of research on this subject. These laws have already passed in Washington. Whats worse and I didn't know this but, the U.S. has a national database for people with psychiatric illnesses. Washington State is the leader in participating in National Background Checks System. They are 1 of only 4 states that consistently submits health records to the National Background Check System (which is the database for people with psychiatric illnesses).
Legislation is also trying to pass laws regarding the way people are sentenced if the commit a crime. Not only will you be 'Not guilty by reason on insanity', but they will use 'Guilty but mentally ill', which is to help people get treatment but also serve out their sentence. Not a horrible idea. But most of the people in prisons have some form of mental illness. I don't see them getting the help they need. They just lock the 'sicker' ones up in their own cells for 23 hours a day. That will help em.
Also, to be consistant with Federal Law, Washington's firearm's statute is being (or trying to) amended to prohibit individuals who have been involuntarly commited for 14 days from ever possessing a firearm. This is due to the situation that happened in at Virginia Tech.
Legislators are also trying to make it easier to involuntarily commit someone and put them on a 72 hour hold. We have very strict laws that protect us from this sort of thing. It's called our CIVIL RIGHTS! I feel I definetly learned some things here. I did not know my name was in a national database. It would have been nice if someone told me. Oh, but of course, why would they tell me. I probably wouldn't havn't gotten the help I needed. There is no where in the 2nd amendment that says that someone with a mental disorder can't carry a gun. Why are they getting away with this stuff? Oh, and by the way, Washington is ranked last in the country on psych ward beds. Washington closed 2 more psych wards in the last year alone. So you want to involuntarily commit more people but don't have anywhere to put them or any medications to give them or any support? Are you just going to keep them at the local hospitals that aren't equipped to help people with mental disorders?
Sorry, i'm now angry. I live in the United States. What is happening to our system. It was designed to work for us not against us.
Depends what kind of psychiatric wards it closed. Closing state hospitals where people are institutionalized long term is a priority of both the consumer movement and state governments. They are a waste of money. Very few people require long term hospitalization anymore. People can live in the community in supported housing if they are unable to take care of themselves entirely or supportive housing if their needs are more intense or even group homes. But people go from state hospitals to prisons or end up homeless or in shelters. But that's because some communites are against housing for people with psychiatric disabilities. They are speaking against building supportive housing in my borough and in preparing to testify and working with other organizations I appear to be on the verge of changing that. Remember as F.D.R. said "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself". We can't change a law as one person but together we can advocate for change. We certainly should never live in fear as consumers as long as we respect the law or society. I put in my latest journal entry how the consumer/provider worked for me to obtain the treatment I am on. And how it could work for other people.
We have the same rights as all other American citizens but if we don't speak out perhaps in this case they could be lessened. But there's no law against free speech. Find the legislators sponsoring it. Go to their home page and send them a politely worded e-mail under "contact" about why you are opposed to it. And you don't have to put down you have bipolar or anything personal and perhaps you shouldn't. Doesn't take much time but it may take the "fear" out of us and if enough people write it may change things.
I looked up information that I googled for mental health laws in washington state. They have one site that gives you free legal advice. I found some info there. You have to dig deep. I also went to the Washington State Office of The Attorney General website. Thats all I can remember. I don't know how to post links or else I would have.
Thank you for all of this information. I am sure a lot of us will be googling and searching and contacting our Senators. It's sad - but our country is getting less and less like the country that protects it's citizens.
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