Monday, April 23, 2007

More on Mental Health

I've added BlondSensehttp://blondesense.blogspot.com/ to the blogroll, after reading a great post on mental health by RedStateBlues.
We all would like to see the mentally ill receive treatment, even those, like my
mother for many years, who cannot or do not recognize that they need treatment. We want to see these folks receive treatment from our impulse to help, from a place of compassion. As we struggle to understand what could have been done to help Cho before he went off like the bomb he was, remember why the Supreme Court says that we cannot willy nilly lock people up, that there must be some due process before even the mentally ill are deprived of their liberty. You and I might want to see these people committed for the right reasons, because we want them to be helped. But
as a fundamental matter of our constitutional rights, it would be the wrong result.

Because we must recognize that when we grant the State the power to compel, to restrict and impinge upon one person's civil liberties, there is the possibility (indeed, with current regime, one might say probability) this power may be misused. As we struggle through the questions of why Cho wasn't locked up so he could not have committed this awful act, think of what the Supreme Court said in O'Connor and ask yourself whether you would want it to be easier for the current government to lock people up for being mentally ill? If you answer yes to that question, I'll leave you with this final thought. It was commonplace in the Soviet Union to institutionalize
political dissidents for mental illness. After all, they must be crazy if they disagreed with the perfect political state.


It's a very thoughtful piece.

4 comments:

whig said...

People who have mental illness but no violent tendency are as harmless as anyone can be, they deserve and should be able to obtain health care resources, which would not need to be forced upon them because they actually need the help. Someone pushing a shopping cart with all their worldly possessions needs a warm place to sleep and good food to eat, and we can target mental health counselors and resources to this community directly.

pygalgia said...

If you have the resources. Last time I was there, California didn't have them.

whig said...

Of course, being mentally ill they might not go voluntarily because of paranoia. So it's not an easy problem, people will have to do social work in the community somehow.

whig said...

What I do is explain cannabis, and let people know that it might help. There are psychiatrists who recommend it, Tod Mikuriya is one that I'm aware of out here, though I've never met him personally. I can't get medicine to people but I can tell them what it is and how it works for me and for people that I know.

In my case I take it for chronic pain, but it is not without mental effects that are as explainable from my perspective as from anyone's. I think it would help, I think it does help, I think people should discuss it with their physicians because it has shown benefit in treating mental diseases of aging, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, and has a good chance of demonstrating a benefit in reducing violent tendencies among those who are severely frustrated.