Would you know where to turn for funds to pay for mental health treatment? Would you know who to ask for referrals or information on federally funded programs? If not, you are not alone because many families and caregivers struggle with this. Sadly, thousands of families become discouraged during the first year of searching for programs to help pay for mental health treatment services or services for those with intellectual disabilities (formerly called MR-Mental Retardation). After a certain period of time searching for funds to pay down costs, families get discouraged by the multiple resources thrown at them and the millions of programs that have either:
The introduction of Thorazine, an antipsychotic medication, in the mid 1950s led to multiple changes in mental health including positive (increased levels of independence, reduced psychiatric stay, and control of symptoms) and negative (terrible side effects, over-medicating, prescription drug abuse, and de-institutionalization) outcomes. Leeriness of psychotropic drugs has continued into 2013 and many supporters of medication usage are being met with resistance.
While surfing the web I read an article about the “uncivil” nature of civil commitment laws. Civil commitment is the legal process by which an individual with a severe mental illness can be involuntarily committed to a hospital for treatment. It gives families hope if their loved one doesn’t think they need help. Arguments against this action dates back to the mid-1950s when civil rights attorneys fought to reduce inpatient care. The detrimental consequences of this argument is noticeable in the increase in homelessness, victimization, crime, incarceration, and suicide.
Electro-convulsive Therapy (ECT), termed shock therapy in the 1940s and 1950s, is a type of treatment used in cases of resistant or severe depression. It is often the last resort following a line of treatments (medication, talk therapy, etc.).
ECT is the induction (or encouragement) of a seizure using an electrical stimulus (or electrode) applied to the scalp to create shock-like waves to the brain. Anesthesia or a muscle relaxant is used and a device is placed between the teeth to prevent loss of teeth.
Families are quite unaware of what leads their loved one(s) to consider suicide. Suicidal ideation is the act of entertaining thoughts of taking your life. For the most part, depression alone can leave a detrimental mark on the psyche. Having worked with suicidal and extremely depressed teens, I consider depression a disease of humanity, a human condition of existence.
As a therapist I have seen a variety of inpatient hospitalizations, some voluntary and others involuntary. Colleagues have had individuals who were removed from their homes by the police and taken to the ER of a psychiatric hospital. The reality of this often shakes the core of family members, caretakers, and friends. If you are a therapist, I’m sure this reality affects you too.
Severe or untreated mental illness is extremely difficult and it often appears that everyone involved is the victim. Families suffer as a result of lacking support from the system, caretakers feel uninformed or alone, and friends often don’t know what to say or do to help. In some cases, the hands of a therapist are also tied.
Watch these short clips from the Treatment Advocacy Center on Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) and why we need legislation to seriously consider the need for AOT.
Why consumers need assisted outpatient treatment
A family’s journey toward saving their daughter
Taking control over a loved one’s mental health care is extremely important. Families or caregivers of an individual with a severe or untreated mental illness often believe that they will automatically have the legal authority to make decisions on their loved one’s behalf in the event they cannot make decisions themselves. The reality is that parents, families, and caregivers have limited to no legal control over an individual by the time they turn 14. In many states, an adolescent as young as 14 years old can make legal decisions on their mental health treatment and refuse to be compliant.