rainbow's promise | mental health
We had a rainbow show up over the max-security building at work the other day, and perhaps this bodes well, for things have not been good of late.
It's no secret that the Department of Justice is coming to do a site visit where I work. The reasons for this are varied, but doubtless include the death of James Bell
, in 2002, when, in front of nearly 30 staff, died of a heart attack yet, according to investigative reports, no one did anything except put him in restraints.
Among the residents where I work [you might call them "patients"
], there is a sense that little has changed since that event, though much has.
The place still has a long way to go and even though, according to the the National Alliance on Mental Illness
[NAMI] the state of Connecticut ranks a "B"
[tied with Ohio for the quality of care provided to people
], there is far to go before care providers can rest on their laurels. Many staff
still fail to grasp the importance of respecting another person's personal space [let alone their rights]. Grievances I receive all too frequently have
birth in someone's utter lack of consideration about others. This kind of obdurate
behavior muddies what might be a person's really critical issues. The nurse who rudely dismisses a man complaining of severe lower back pain, might be ignoring a developing tumor [that actually happened ~ the man is now paralyzed from the waist down].
Then there's the preoccupation, even sloven fealty
to Big Pharma
; as if taking a mouthful of meds actually solves problems like some magic bullet. Let me clue you in here ~ in and of themselves, psychotropic meds are not cure-alls. Many have severe and crippling side-effects that could last for life and the taker of meds has to "choose" between living with extreme discomfort
, kidney failure
, even the possibility of premature death
. All this in exchange for numbing the intensity of one's psychiatric symptoms. Yet, so frequently, nursing staff's first response
to expression of crisis is "So do you want a PRN
?" Make's you wonder what ever happened to sitting down and actually listening to someone to hear their personal tales of woe
before being inappropriately prescriptive.
Clinical professionals, as well as lay-people fail to grasp the basic reality that many individuals with perceptual and cognitive conditions that become disabling, severe and long-lasting, can and do recover from their inability to deal with those conditions. For some, "recovery" means the conditions go away completely, for others, they learn to adapt and function with the conditions, however difficult that me be for not only themselves, but for others with whom they live.
But that recovery rarely occurs in a vacuum. Those around those with the difficulties and travails that society has dubbed to be "mental illnesses" have to be available to provide, care, compassion, support, uncondtional love, understanding and forebearance. Not someting easily done, perhaps, but without it the rainbow's promise is all the more difficult to find.RESOURCES: Advocacy Unlimited; Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law; Dr. Peter Breggin; Centre for Evidence Based Mental Health; Copeland Center for Wellness and Recovery; MindFreedom; National Alliance on Mental Illness; National Institute of Mental Health; Mental Health Matters | Cross posted at Rondacker's LiveJournal Diary
Labels: big pharma, drug wars, mentally ill, obituaries, prisons, Recovery