Comments in response to Teresa Pasquini’s “Shattering Silence” campaign (  2017

"My son has schizophrenia. He committed a very violent crime that was totally out of character for him. That was when he was twenty. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity. The court forced him into treatment for 6 years and then released him home. He refused to take his medicine and slowly but gradually became more violent at home to the point that he was arrested for beating up his older brother. Since then, he has been jailed numerous times for breaking our order of protection we had to take out.

"When he is on his medicine, he is nearly back to normal. Laughing, helpful around the house, and he is social. However, he does not think he is sick and will take his meds for a while but then quits. Then the spiral begins again. He is on the streets now unless he is back in jail. He needs treatment and not jail.

"The patient's civil rights should not include people with a serious mental illness. He has been judged by the social security administration as unemployable due to his illness. That alone should be enough to force treatment or assist in his treatment in a half-way house setting once a person like him is stabilized."  TENNESSEE

"Stray animals are treated better than people. We see a dirty, disoriented animal and prompt action is taken to heal it's wounds and provide a warm safe place to heal emotion and physical wounds.

"Humans though... My brother, languishing in severe delusion and hallucinations (but civil rights intact), died behind a dumpster, not too far from Disneyland, the Happiest Place on Earth. No one seemed to even acknowledge him. He was among the 4% of severely mentally ill people whom are considered "blight" and are criminalized in a misguided belief that it is a US citizen's born right to be sick and die from torment of a brain illness after bouncing from streets to jails to hospitals to streets again. WE NEED CHANGE!"   CALIFORNIA

"My brother is in prison, he has mental illness and is delusional. Seven years in prison has made him much worse. He will come out in three years and be 60 without a penny to his name. Intervention could have kept him an active part of society. As a family we tried but were unable to keep him out of harms way." NEW YORK

"My family member has been immensely helped by Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) and Assertive Community Treat (ACT) team providers. Preventing our family members from further brain damage, by using AOT to assist in their care when they cannot recognize their illness, is humane and required if you love them. Ignoring symptoms of relapse only until AOT is a last resort is unconscionable for us as a society and unforgivable for us as family.

"I receive phone calls from families seeking advice because they didn't know about AOT and their ill family member ended up lost or in prison or worse, dead. This is the reality of mental illness that those who talk about "recovery for everyone" ignore. Not everyone experiences mental illness the same way and not all methods of treatment work for everyone. I support all of us working together but do not support exclusion of the sickest among us, nor do I support using already scarce funds for programs and organizations that are working to the detriment of medicine and scientifically proven evidence-based programs.  Families need to be heard. KENTUCKY

To be continued...

 Photo credit: Chris Blakeley/Flickr

Photo credit: Chris Blakeley/Flickr