Comments in response to Teresa Pasquini’s “Shattering Silence” campaign (https://www.change.org/p/mary-gilberti-and-nami-board-of-directors-join-families-advocates-of-the-4-in-shattering-silence-about-serious-mental-illness). 2017
“Those individuals suffering from mental illness are no different from those suffering from any other kind of brain disease; yet they are treated so very differently. It must stop! Period.
Particularly mental illness that is serious and persistent (SMI). Death, incarceration, or under a bridge are their only options. Safe and appropriate living arrangements are needed, with 24 hour supervision and medication oversight. Anosognosia is real. Fighting for court ordered medications and the wrap around services that are supposed to be available are not enough and are not working. Human souls are dying!
"There are far too many more individuals who don't even make it in front of a judge than those who do. And those who do must 'run the gauntlet' to get there. We need to start fighting for our loved ones who have no voice! We need to stop accepting and working with the 'bones' that are thrown our way by our legislators...the 'civil rights' to die, and the opportunity to be 'peers' to those in our prisons.
"We need to stand together as a TEAM and demand the appropriate living arrangements and treatment conditions for our loved ones that will keep them from dying, living under a bridge and becoming incarcerated in the first place!” CALIFORNIA
“My son is incarcerated and has mental illness. His family is shut out because he refuses to sign an ROI and doesn't believe he is ill. He has been shuffled back and forth between jail (where he has been isolated) and the state mental health hospital for competency restoration for the past 18 months and has at least 6 mental health evaluations during this time. His mental health is deteriorating. He is not receiving the care that he needs to get well. I fully support changes to HIPAA laws to allow families access to diagnoses and to have a voice in our loved ones care. We have had to hire an attorney to be an advocate so we can have a voice for our son. Many families do not have the resources and it is not a fair treatment for our sons and daughters caught in the revolving door that is the criminal justice system for those with mental illness. Families need access and deserve to have a voice.” CALIFORNIA
“Would you rather have those with serious mental illness in prison? That's the reality of the decision not to implement treatment when the person is too ill to decide for themselves. The consequences of non action are devastating for the individual, their families and society.
“I am signing this petition for my brilliant son who has a 21-year documented history of living with a severe brain disease, but has not received adequate medical care in over 11 years!
"Too often, national mental health organizations like NAMI and Mental Health of America, support efforts that address the back-end of the system, (i.e., police/community trainings, mental health courts), instead of programs like Assisted Outpatient Treatment, AOT (front-end). These federal agencies believe in normalizing mental health … “we all have it”! They spend a large portion of their budget on “anti-stigma” campaigns; stating that it is the reason people do not seek treatment.
My son doesn't avoid treatment due to stigma — he doesn't believe he has an illness. Its called anosognosia; a result of years of psychotic episodes from his rights to refuse treatment — which has lead to permanent brain damage! It is now impossible to convince him he is having symptoms. In a recent hospitalization, my son said, 'I am in an endless state of recovery from an illness I don’t have!'
"Bottom line, our society will be #stigmafree when families are able to help their family members gain access to treatment — before tragedy. Families like mine need all mental health organizations to #LobbyLoud for solutions before the police are called — not after! We need better policies that don't force our loved ones to become violent in order to gain access to #abedinstead!” KENTUCKY