Photo taken in 2008 in Witchita Falls, TX mental hospital
ANOTHER sister needs help to save her schizophrenic brother who suffers in prison rather than being hospitalized. Please sign Danielle's petition for Nick's prison release and humane care at this link: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/4/help-me-help-my-brother
We need more officials who care about Americans with mental disabilities like Rep. Johnson (D-TX) who introduced H.R.619 to resume Medicaid funding for inpatient psychiatric treatment. Many of our representatives care. There are now 177 bills pending before Congress that were introduced to help Americans who suffer with mental health issues. In 2008, members of the 111th Congress from both sides of the aisle worked together in the midst of a major election to pass very relevant legislation. See some information about the important mental health bills they passed on my Care2 page: http://www.care2.com/c2c/people/profile.html?pid=513396753 - You will also see a long list of very famous people who have or had mental illness.
We need officials to support H.R. 619 and Assisted Outpatient Treatment programs (AOTs). AOTs combine mandatory psychiatric treatment and monitoring for acute mental patients to STOP the revolving door in and out of prisons. We need elected officials who have no conflict of interest with decriminalizing mental illness. Many people are more concerned with increasing their prison profits than saving people like my brother, Larry, Danielle's brother, Nick, Tim Souders, Sean LeVert, Oscar Morales, or Chu and victims of the VIRGINIA TECH MASSACRE - www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18138369 (See a gallery of photos from the Virginia Tech tragedy at the link above.) Most mentally ill people are non-violent like my brother Larry was. Psychiatric patients are more likely to be hurt or killed during lunacy arrests than to harm anyone. However, AIMI advocates for mentally ill inmates. Most of them have done some crime to be incarcerated ranging from simple vagrancy to murder. I am not implying that all mental patients are dangerous, but some definitely are. Lack of appropriate care for America's acute mental patients makes our police officers' jobs more dangerous and leaves our communities vulnerable to avoidable tragedies. In order to have an alternative to prisons for acute mental patients who show a propensity for violence, police must have hospitals to take patients to for containment and treatment - hopefully BEFORE avoidable deaths, especially when patients and/or families ask for assistance. After prison or hospital release, monitoring through AOT programs would reduce homelessness, arrests, future hospitalizations, and incarceration by around 85%, according to the rates experienced by New York participants in the Kendra's Law program. AOTs ensure that program participants stay with their treatment plans and provide needed subsistence assistance, thus reducing recidivism. Timely, appropriate care would save money and restore many differently-abled inmates to wholesome lives. Mental illness is no different from other chronic diseases that require ongoing monitoring and treatment.
Please call or email your elected official today at this link http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml . Find out where your elected officials stand on H.R.619 to resume funding for mental hospitals under Medicaid. Hospitals cost no more than prisons, which are still obligated to treat mentally ill inmates. Why pay for a sick person to be tortured by solitary confinement in a cell you pay for PLUS get treatment they often don't actually receive? Increasing the availability of psychiatric care in hospitals is essential to stabilize mentally ill people in crisis and provide long-term care for chronic patients who require ongoing containment in a secure treatment enviornment to protect them and society.
JAIL IS THE LAST THING THAT MENTAL PATIENTS NEED, AND TOO OFTEN, IT IS THE VERY LAST THING THEY EXPERIENCE. Please join our effort to decriminalize mental illness. No one deserves to be punished for having a disability. Danielle and Nick thank you in advance for supporting his petition for compassion and justice. Please agree with Danielle and AIMI that prison is the wrong place for Nick to be. Ask your friends and groups to join us as Nick's supporters. There is no one else for Danielle to appeal to other than you who care about justice and human suffering. I appreciate you.
Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill