My friend, Teresa Pasquini, gives me permission to share her recent Facebook post here. Teresa is a mom and a mental health advocate who's been fighting for years for her son's rights. Teresa in her own words:
Danny was transferred back to Napa County Jail last Friday. Atascadero State hospital has again deemed that he is competent to stand trial for charges that first occurred while a patient at Napa State Hospital beginning in August 2012, four years ago.
He was transferred without so much as a phone call from the hospital. The only reason we knew was because we didn't get our nightly call from him Friday night. He called us everyday, twice a day while at Atascadero, once in the a.m. and once in the p.m. We could set our clocks on Danny's calls. He never missed one. I told my husband around 7:30pm on Friday night that he must have been transferred that day since he hadn't called us. It would have been considerate to have received a phone call from someone saying that our disabled son was being transported 6 hours across state. It took 24 hours to know he made it safely.
The Napa County Jail has been really good to Danny and we have no complaints about his care, but we hate it when he is incarcerated. We know that he is isolated, secluded. We know he takes his medications as prescribed but we know that he gets scared and sicker. We never know when he will call and we are no longer able to visit him in person due to new rules at the jail. No more touching through glass which was bitter sweet, yet more human than a computer screen.
Now we only have phone calls, video sessions, and glances in court. The video sessions have their advantages and we are grateful for the convenience. I quickly made a video appointment yesterday for 4:00pm today. I spent 2 hours yesterday fixing my computer to make sure the session would work. I got the green light and told Danny this morning when he called that we would be visiting him by video today at 4pm and we would introduce him to the new kittens, Cali and Lucca. He was so excited and happy.
Then I received this: VISITATION SESSION CANCELLED
No reason given, just a polite email from the company that sucks incarcerated families dry with excessive phone charges. Families are the "F" word in mental health, jail, and prison systems. Families are rarely considered when it comes to adult children with serious mental illnesses no matter where they are placed. We are shunned along with our disabled children. It is wrong. It hurts. It is unacceptable.
I am the proud mom of an adult son with serious mental illness who will NOT be forgotten in discussions about rules, guidelines, laws and policies that affect my family. I am tired of being politely shunned and tolerated. I am tired of having no rights and tired of my son having no rights. I am tired of my son being tortured, slowly and cruelly while everyone chit chats about wellness and recovery.
I am no longer a "recovering angry mom." I am angry and I will drive change that matters for families like mine. It is beyond time to get real and shatter the status quo. We have waited long enough.
Please encourage your friends, families, churches, health care partners and law enforcement partners to help us stop the insanity and support MH Reform this congressional session.