Eliminate the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency (SAMHSA). SAMHSA is the epicenter of what is wrong with the American mental-health system. SAMHSA actively encourages states to engage in mission creep and send the most seriously ill to the end of the line. They provide massive funding to organizations that want to prevent mentally ill individuals from receiving treatment. They have nothing positive to show for their efforts in spite of a massive bureaucracy that meets and meets and meets and never accomplishes anything. I wrote on this for a mass market in the Washington Times and Huffington Post. But Amanda Peters wrote a terrific scholarly piece on SAMHSA for a law journal.
If Obama is serious about wanting to do something, these steps would be the best first step. True, the mental-health industry may throw a fit as they find themselves obligated to serve the most seriously ill, but it’s the right thing to do. Anything else could be deadly. View Comment
Create a federal definition of serious mental illness, and require that the vast majority of mental-health funding go to it. Due to mission creep and the tendency to diagnose normal reactions of people as a mental “health” issue, government agencies now claim that 40 percent or more of Americans have a mental ‘health’ issue. Worst, most mental “health” funding currently goes to this group of the highest functioning. But only 5 to 9 percent of Americans have a serious mental illness. That’s where we should be spending our money — on the 5 to 9 percent who are most likely to become violent and need help, not the worried well. There is more than enough money in the mental-health system to prevent Newtown-type incidents, provided it is spent on people who are truly ill, not the worried-well. I wrote on this for a mass market on Huffington Post, but a much more scholarly paper was written by Howard H. Goldman and Gerald N. Grob. With the fiscal cliff approaching, prioritizing the most seriously mentally ill for services is more important than ever. View Comment
End the Institutes for Mental Disease (IMD) exclusion in Medicaid law. This provision tells states: “If you kick someone out of the hospital, we will pay you 50% of the community care costs.” This causes states to lock the front door of hospitals and open the back door, regardless of whether the community is an appropriate setting. If you have a disease in any organ of your body, other than the brain, and need long-term hospital care, Medicaid pays. Failing to pay when the illness is in the brain is federal discrimination against persons with mental illness. I wrote on Medicaid discrimination for the mass market in the Washington Post, but John Edwards wrote a more scholarly paper on ending the IMD Exclusion. Relatedly, a proposal made by former vice-presidential candidate Ryan, under which Medicaid was block-granted could solve this problem.
Write exceptions into the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) so parents of mentally ill children can get access to medical records and receive information from their children’s doctors on what is wrong and what the children need. Right now, for reasons of “confidentiality,’ doctors won’t tell parents what is wrong with their kids or what treatment they need, even as they require parents to provide the care. As a result, when a child goes off treatment, the parents’ hands are tied. They have all the responsibility to see the person is cared for, but none of the information or authority to see it happens. We have to change the patient confidentiality laws so parents can help prevent tragedies rather than become a punching bag for the public when something horrific happens. View Comment
here's some ideas:
Start demonstration projects of Assisted Outpatient Treatment (e.g. Kendra’s Law in New York, Laura’s Law in California) throughout the country. AOT allows courts to order individuals with mental illness to stay in treatment as a condition of living in the community. It is only applicable to the most seriously ill who have a history of violence, incarceration, or needless hospitalizations. AOT is proven to keep patients, the public, and police safer. The Department of Justice has certified AOT as an effective crime-prevention program. But mental-health departments are reluctant to implement AOT because it forces them to focus on the most seriously ill. Demonstration projects would help mental-health departments see the advantage of the program. (For why some people with serious mental illness refuse treatment, see this. See also how Assisted Outpatient Treatment laws (Kendra’s Law in NY and Laura’s Law in CA) keep patients, the pubic and police safer View Comment
The real issue we must face is getting better help for the mentally unstable, more outlets for people in crisis to get help.
LESS Hollywood movies glorifying the use of guns and violence as a solution to problems.
LESS Violent "shoot 'em up" video games that our kids spend 5 hours a day playing.
MORE family structure.
MORE time spent teaching children the difference between reality and fantasy or virtual reality.
Accept more responsibility for your actions and stop blaming inanimate object for our own mistakes.
Drunk driving kills hundreds of people per days but no one is trying to ban cars or alcohol. That would be too hard a battle for most people, it's easier to point the finger at the object that can't speak back. Perhaps we should ban spoons and ice cream since they make people fat?
Wake up Paul Sterne and get a clue. Be a responsible parent to your children (if you have any), instead of being a knee-jerk reactionary sheep. View Comment
"If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun," - Barack Obama @ Philadelphia fundraiser.
Read more: http://nation.foxnews.com/politics/2011/01/10/obama-flashback-if-they-bring-knife-fight-we-bring-gun#ixzz2FW7iHVy4