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The Abject Failure Of Our Mental Health System

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posted on Sep, 24 2007 @ 11:07 AM
For many years now, the mental health branch of the NHS has been under funded, with many closures and poor treatment available.

The following story is even more personally poignant as the individual was known to my family and had been in and out of mental institutions for some time.

A man slit his own throat with a Stanley knife in a busy branch of Woolworths and bled to death in front of horrified staff.

The shocking scenes happened on Thursday as the store in the centre of Penzance, Cornwall, was packed with shoppers.

Witnesses said the 23-year-old local man had been seen stalking the streets and threatening passers-by. He then went into the shop and made for the hardware section where the grabbed the knife and began brandishing it at terrified customers.
Staff managed to guide families away from the man and out of the shop. They then tried to reason with him while a 999 call was made.

But the man then turned the knife on himself and slashed at his neck. He died minutes later after cutting a major artery.

A South West Ambulance spokeswoman said: "There was no way this man could have been saved. These types of blades for DIY work might be small but they are very sharp.
The horrifying incident started just after 3pm when the man walked into the shop.

Terrified staff saw he was carrying the knife and could see he was distressed, and they started to clear people out.

But before anyone could prevent him the man, said to be in his twenties or thirties, started slashing himself with the blade.


The individual concerned had recently been sectioned under the mental health act, but instead of receiving treatment, he was put on yet another course of psychotropic drugs, and after 2 weeks was released into the community.
This was just 3 days before he marched in Woolworths and cut his own throat.
According to family members, an initial diagnosis (over the suicide) has been given to them of "drug induced psychosis" - but toxicology tests are needed to coinfirm this.

There are currently no reports of what medication he was given when sectioned.

The individual had a long history of mental health problems and had been sectioned in the past on more than one occasion.

This case again raises the issues surrounding care in the community and it's failures in many area's.
We now have mentally ill people roaming the streets, often forgotten by the system, battling to live - not just a normal life, but any kind of life.
Care in the community did much to dispel some of the stigma regarding mental illness, but it has also failed many people, and is seen by some as a system that discards those it cannot help with a quick fix.

There are many examples of how this system has failed, but this is surely one of the most tragic.

posted on Sep, 24 2007 @ 11:19 AM
Reaganomics did this to us, in the US. It's one of the main reasons we have such a massive homelessness problem here.

A society's value is measured by the way in which it treats its weakest and defenseless.

I could never understand how the richest country in the world could just let its citizens go without health insurance, let alone mental health help, when we can afford to give billions in corporate welfare.

posted on Sep, 24 2007 @ 11:25 AM
As Ted Kaczynski (the unabomber) wrote:

The concept of "mental health" in our society is defined largely by the extent to which an individual behaves in accord with the needs of the system and does so without showing signs of stress.

There is no push or desire in the mental health industry to find out what is actually normal human behavior and feelings. They don't want to know why the animal, as a whole, is increasingly showing signs of stress and exhibiting many of the symptoms seen previously in Zoo-kept creatures. That would be simply a useless humanitarian exercise with little potential for profit.

Rather, the purpose of the whole industry is just to create well socialized people so that the system can keep functioning with a minimal level of interference. What they seek to do is medicate the border cases so that they system can extract useful work from them or heavily medicate the extreme cases so that their thoughts and ideas will have no effect on the functioning of the system.

Thats it. The doctors do what they do not to heal you but to make you useful because according to the dogma of mental health care a person that is useless to the system is broken and diseased.


posted on Sep, 24 2007 @ 11:38 AM
On a personal note, this is the 3rd death of someone known to me in the last 6 weeks as a result of inadequate mental healthcare - one of whom was my uncle who had worked with special needs children for over 20 years.
Another was a trustee for local charities and was an MBA.
So it's something that affects people from all walks of life.

I think it's time for the powers that be to admit that the system fails on many counts.
For instance, it's actually very hard for a person to be sectioned or admitted to hospital under the mental health act.
For many, by the time the system has noticed, it's too late - most doctors will not consider a section unless the police become involved, even if you are considered a danger to yourself or others.

My uncle hung himself after being released from hospital - he had been in and out of hospital for many years due to severe depression. The depression was caused (partially) by his work with special needs children, and his medication, counselling, care etcwas not working.
The irony is that the system he worked for was the one that failed him, and led ultimatley to his death.

[edit on 24/9/2007 by budski]

posted on Sep, 24 2007 @ 02:14 PM
We have alot of mental health related problems here as well.

Up until the 1960s and 70s these people were detained in mental health facilities where they could be restrained and helped (debatable if this actually helped them) and then in all its wisdom the government started the process of de-institutionalization in which the staff basically opened up the doors and said "go" and let all these people into the communities with no support system.


- poverty/homelessness went through the roof.
- crime went through the roof (notice how this was around the same time as the crack epidemic).

As terrible as some of these places may have been, there are some people who need to be detained in a secure facility. Unfortunately we cannot send them to regular correctional facilities so therefore they are basically just let go.

posted on Sep, 25 2007 @ 11:14 AM
I couldn't post this yesterday, as the family had not yet released his name to the media:

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