Comment at wmur.com on a story about the change of focus on gun control to one of mental health reform….one poster made refrence to an incident at Elliot Hospital, Manchester, NH where a person on involuntary psychiatric treatment was left in an er bay for lack of inpatient beds in the state. The article highlighted several recent mass shootings.

My comment, which would not post, is below…

Mental health treatment has been cut and cut over and over, causing so much misery it is nearly impossible to get well and stay well. Yes, funding for treatment needs to increase! Having PTSD (which I do from domestic violence) does not have to mean you can never go hunting. If you take a diabetic and randomly shut off the supply of insulin they need, provide only one endocrinologist for an entire county, and refuse to require insurance to cover meters you would have just as many gun deaths from that disease. That is what has happened, in this country and in this state.

Even the worst mental illnesses are treatable. There will probably always be that 1 out of 10, 000 that cannot live independently who need good guardians, case managers, and more. There are always going to be 1 out of 100, 000 that need constant supervision. The vast majority of us however, just need to be treated humanely,  and have our efforts at recovery supported and funded in a manner equal to that of cancer and diabetes.

Go to a http://www.namiwalks.org event.
Visit a peer support center (http://www.tricitycoop.org/nh-peer-support-agencies.html).
Check out the nearest MH clubhouse, here in NH that is Granit Pathways.
Talk to the director of the only Peer Respite Center in NH.
Tind out what a Warmline is and why having one staffed 24 hours a day can stop violence, suicide, and pain.
Get educated about Suicide Prevention.
Learn how thousands of mental health consumers use Wellness Recovery Action Plans so that when symptoms flare up in the incurable diseases (like repeated trauma PTSD) the person’s family, friends, and medical team can step in and get them quickly treated or supported so the violent outburst never actually happens.

If you do, you will see just some of the things that work that have been level funded or slashed every single legislative cycle for years.

Facebook me at Brenda Eckels Burrows, aMGC, and I will share:
* as a Medication Officer I helped teach people with severe mental illness to manage their medications, keep track of when they took them, and how to celebrate being a proactive part of their own recovery.
* as a Clinical Case Manager I and countless others designed, wrote, implemented, and documented treatment plans that had real, measurable, and repeatable effects on recovery and stability
* as a mental health consumer, I have fought for years to gain access to the slight and underfunded mental health services for this “no tax” state. I will also share how I stand on the brink of achieving that goal, but only if I allow the state to place an incorrect “dumpster diagnosis” into my permmanent medical record. Imagine only being able to get your diabetes treated if you let the hospital code you as having Parkinson’s Disease.
* as a family member I watched my Dad have one psychiatric crisis, and then enjoy all the services he needed in a consistant manner with the same team of professionals for close to 20 years. He never had a second crisis. He had excellent executive level cadillac insurance. In our family alone, I can showcase how some classes of Americans are treated better than others, even within the same company.
* as a volunteer board member at a peer center I spent countless hours in education on how to run our organization better, only to discover years later the local community mental health center’s executive leadership didn’t.
* as a lay Franciscan religious I ran a small non profit and saw everyday the misery caused by untreated mental illness, and how often all I could provide was a prayer and to hold their hand while they sat for hours in an ER.

I can also tell you about the mental health consumers who do own guns, do store and use them safely, and who should not be denied a constitutional right just because a few people with mental illness are not well enough to have access to guns.

Learn how bad it is to have a brain disease, and how much worse it is to have a brain disease in the United States. Go to Elliot’s ER in Manchester, NH and imagine being handcuffed to a gurney in that bay for 3 days with no medication, no doctor, no treatment, little food, no ability to have drinking water, no place to urinate … even if you were perfectly healthy, how long could YOU bear it? That wasn’t a random, rare thing…it happens in this state and country over and over. Take a look at the fancy kidney dialysis centers around and compare them to the community mental health centers, which are nearly impossible to get into. Or consider what it was like for us consumers and family members in 2011 when a GOP member State Senator Martin Harty suggested we be exiled to die in Siberia! How would you feel if the same was said about your Grandma’s diabetes? Read about how mental health consumers, children, and elderly become unwilling and sometimes uniformed guinea pigs for the big pharmaceutical companies who make huge profits off human misery and then take every tax loophole they can.

Mothers who live with adult kids who have severe mental illness may have a legal right to own a bunch of guns, but they do not have the right to leave them around unlocked!  A simple fringerprint lock would have slowed down that school shooter, and unless hebhad hacked Mommy’s thumb off and taken it with him, he would have run out of bullets a lot sooner.

It is almost unheard of for a gun dealer not to take credit and debit cards and own a smartphone. This means there is no reason why Joe Gunseller at a gun show can’t take a few minutes to access a “can’t buy” registry, snap a picture, get a fingerprint, and collect a signature from every flag waving gun lover trying to buy and match them to said registry. Shut up about your constitution. It also says you are supposed to register yourself and your gun at a local government run militia.

Gangs and abusive ex-partners alone account for a huge amount of gun deaths, and both leave not just dead and crippled bodies but damaged and crippled minds, including many child victims, in the wake of the deadly games they play. Put some funding for both into your next vote at town meeting for the police department.

This country owed that Veteran not just for his military service, but for his service at 9/11, and everytime you elect a representative who refuses to sign a budget or who refuses to fund mental health care, guess what? The blood is on your hands!

Stop playing word games. Put psychiatric inpatient beds in every county in the country. Fund a full treatment center with partial hospitalization and day programs nearby and provide transportation to and from it. Open 10 more group homes per county, put peer support centers in every 50 mile radius, Cover Wellness Recovery Action Plans, medications, counseling, hypnotherapy, and one on one workers 100%. Fast track mental illness Social Security, Welfare, and Veteran’s Services applications. Build housing that a person making less than $700 a month can safely, humanely, and comfortably live in. Make food stamps large enough to eat healthy foods, and award points, prizes, or cash for people who do so. Allow enough welfare cash to have toilet paper, deorderant, and shampoo.

Start treating mental illness as a disease not a disgrace, and not only will these headlines be much less common, you will have a bounce in the economy you can’t imagine as thousands of health care professionals go to work and thousand of mental health consumers do too – safely.

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