Don’t Ignore Mental Health

There is so much more to mental health than this piece. Don’t ignore the growing epidemic.

The current mental health system in the US is chaotic with the general treatment of unfortunate mental health  patients in America being ignored. Needing treatment is a far cry from getting it. And then there’s the fact that the frenzied system is facing a massive mental health epidemic.

We are finding that many people suffering from conditions cannot find the help they need and are ending up stranded on the streets begging for help. In 2014, it was an estimated that 200,000 were homeless, and 350,000 were incarcerated. It’s unfortunate. Communities tend to reject the serious mentally ill to shelters, prisons and the streets. States have been begging for funding and better training for years.

All of this indicates the journey to substance abuse and violence for comfort.

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Mental disorders affect thinking, feeling, mood, or all with each person having a different experience. It is argued that the connection between the underlying causes are genetics, environment and lifestyle are the key to wellness. When it’s brought up, depression, anxiety, panic, schizophrenia and PTSD are usually mentioned. These conditions radiate through America with 1 in 17 people living with a serious mental illness. 50% of these mental disorders begin by the age of 14 rising to 75% by the age of 24. Additionally, coping with stress can create a person’s disorder.

So where could have we adverted the crisis?

A great example would be mental health and teens. 1 out of 5 live with a mental illness developing between 14 and 24. At a time of self-awareness, many teens try to cope with their issues independently sometimes turn to drugs to settle their disorder If the aftermath Netflix’s ‘13 Reasons why’ told us anything, it’s that mental health is still in the dark ages of its causes, actions, and reactions. That alone sheds light as to why those with mental illnesses get the cold shoulder. The fact that normal behavior and the progression of personality during adolescence mimic and mask symptoms makes it all the more critical.

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Treatment

America has heavily relied on medications for relief from mental illness for generations and generally, the intention is to be beneficial. They influence the brain cells and have brought humans forward from a sadistic past saving many lives. Allowing patients to deal with depression, psychotic episodes, anxiety, and extreme mood swings while living a wealthy life was now possible.

However, many medications hold severe side-effects: memory loss, severe fatigue, isolation resolution, changes in personality to name a few. Ignoring the fact that more that stronger prescriptions is needed in most cases to maintain wellness. It paves the way when it comes to the risks in relieving mental symptoms. Doctors don’t address the underlying issue. Not to mention with rogue doctors exploiting a situation. Many medications are abused to the point when where the current situation begins to leak into many other circumstances.

Like Jail.

It is being shown that many of the inmates incarcerated are suffering from mental problems. The prison system has many flaws. Throwing mentally ill patients behind bars is one of them. It is estimated that 14% of the inmates in federal prisons and 26% in state and county jails met the levels for serious psychological stress. Between the state and county, about 40% were told they have a mental disorder. 31% of those reported a major depressive disorder. Something to think about: There is a higher percentage of females incarcerated with mental health issues. Prescription medication is the common treatment. An overseen issue with the treatment is that many inmates already have addiction issues.

A study in Iowa state prison showed almost 50% of their inmates had a serious mental illness with 29% suffering from substance abuse. 90% is recognized by the 6th year of incarceration and almost all felons were diagnosed while doing their time. Unfortunately by the time all of this happens, the damage is done.

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Suicide

Sadly, those who are subjected to be tortured by their disorder may face their own demise by their own hands. The main risk includes depression and substance abuse. Linkage to this seen as suicidal ideations, social withdraws, mood swings, and reckless behaviors. Sound familiar?

And what happened to patient’s rights?

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While issues with mental health policy have progressed it still has ways to go. Patients being discriminated and rights are denied, lack of access to resources, not being able to make their own informed decision, and overcrowded state hospitals has been ground zero to the chaos in treating mental health. 2/3 of children with mental health issues do not have access to care and the criminal justice system just tosses them in jail at the prime age of treatment. For something so important, there a lot of obstacles.

As far as the issues with mental health and prisons, to ignore it is to prove that the function of incarceration isn’t to rehabilitate, but rather, as we thought, just to hold. Can people really say that the proper treatment is provided in prisons? Should we turn our backs? Assume someone else will deal with it? Mental health professionals are still working on progressing the proper way to treat individuals with conditions as they are finding out generalizing may not be the right way to go about things. Is prison or without shelter the place to be to do that?

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Reasonable Death

It’s no secret that innocent people have died under the eyes of justice. For generations, it was a running joke. Now, although we want to assume that we are now assuring everyone is innocent until proven guilty, innocent felons are closing their eyes for the final time due to legal justice. And this does not include the climbing popularity of street justice.

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The big issue is not the fact that innocent people are still dying, but that the reasons dating back decades are still the same: misinformation from people who just want the case closed. This reason alone should push for a justice revamp. Instead, we are here in 2017 reminding the world that people are still dying for no reason.

We praise lawyers for helping criminals get away with crime yet so much doubt could still get people killed.

Leo Jones

Accused of killing a police officer, Jones proclaimed his innocence until the voltage spread through his body. He declared his confession was coerced by an officer who was later proven to be the guy he was accused of. After recanting his confession and many witnesses implicating someone else, a last minute pardon was ignored.

While his innocence was never actually proven, the fact that there was so much doubt cast on his guilt, the thought of a possible innocent man after MANY people coming forward saying ‘hey, I lied’ and ‘hey, no you got the wrong guy’ still dying should send chills. Reasonable doubt is supposed to prevent jail time. Confirmation of misinformation should avert death.

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Like many average Americans, Frank Lee Smith’s life was cut short due an unfair battle with Cancer. It would suck to know that being wrongfully convicted of rape and murder persisted his condition. He was exonerated December, 2000 after being originally convicted in the mid-80s.

Understandably, DNA testing was not popular back then, but Smith seemed to be convicted on wonky eyewitness testimony anyway. It was stated throughout the process that the testimony didn’t always seem trustworthy, sometimes generic. Later it was recanted. Police officers admitted to lying.

A man suffered until death because people were in a hurry close a case. Other suspects who had an opportunity to commit the crime were not pursued. Terrible line-up process. But what makes it all worse is that through this long and drawn-out process, there were many chances to rectify the many errors and still, an innocent man wasted away while waiting for mistakes to be admitted.

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This alleged cop killer had an eclipse of doubt cast over his case before Troy Davis died. Though his conviction has yet to be overturned, so many holes were being poked in his case, ROR should have been recommended. Why is it so shocking to hear that maybe police might be pressuring and coercing in order to finish the job? It wouldn’t be the first time. Witnesses have started recanting their testimonies. He’s still dead.

What more needs to be done before people start saying ‘maybe we’re wrong.’

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Even after no physical evidence being linked to the murder, Brian Terrell of Georgia was murdered by lethal injection anyway. Further that, the physical evidence that they did find contradicted indicting the man. Again, witnesses recanted testimonies quoting all types of selfishness.

These cases always make me sad. Evidence of prosecution coercion was proven a few times throughout the attempts to prove Brian’s innocence. People are not asking to just let everyone go, but when did reasonable doubt become reasonable death?

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Poor Gary Graham, executed 2000 after pleading his innocence for almost 20 years. It seems with this one, trying was a bonus. He was convicted on a quick witness testimony. This was after two other witnesses contradicted the first one. After all of this came out, the people who sentenced to death had the opportunity to hypothetically change their minds…sad the man’s still dead.

Ledell Lee

Right before I was going to conclude this piece, I came across Ledell Lee, a mentally handicapped man who was recently executed for a murder that it seems like he may not have committed. In saying that, the fact that again there was so much doubt cast on the case, the man still died.

Again, not only were there contradictions to the physical evidence, including it not matching him, there was evidence of judge and lawyer affairs and witness contradictions. His defense team didn’t even seem to care. Someone who is facing death, should not have to beg for DNA testing, especially since DNA has exonerated so many people. If the death penalty is only to prevent felons from committing crimes again, I think we should be all for clearing people!

I want to wrap this up with the familiar story of Emmett Till, the young man who was murdered for a lie. His murderers, who were heard bragging about what they committed were eventually acquitted. Just recently, the woman who started the chain of events admitted to her lie. Something people already knew to be true had finally been proven.

Although it is not surprising that cases like Emmett Till were just thrown away back then, it’s hard not to think about when we have:

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Even if they make it pass street justice, many people wait for other people’s bad decisions to put them to death.

I’ve been binging on Unsolved Mysteries lately and am upset that many of the cases have not been solved. I’m even more upset that many of the terrible cases that were solved, have felons who are today released.

But we still have this issue…

Sources:

Death Penalty Information

Frontline