Author Topic: Shelving the mentally ill  (Read 200 times)

Km Anu

Shelving the mentally ill
« on: October 08, 2019, 02:58:59 pm »
Hello all. I just wanted to leave this link here.

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2017/09/20/when-a-mental-health-emergency-lands-you-in-jail

As some of you know I work at a state mental health facility in a rural area of the united states. Currently we only have 30 beds and a waiting-list full of non-criminal people waiting for 72 hour assessments. I have seen my state's government attempt (hard) to privatize the facility via Wellpath, a company that basically runs psychiatric prisons and detention centers.

I have talked to a lot of my community leaders. Our union stopped the privatization for want of a feasibility study which did not reflect positively upon privatization. Also, our governor gave them a no-bid contract to run our administration for over a million dollars a month, and they haven't even been able to retain a CEO.

Our CFO became an acting CEO a few years ago and it seems he almost intentionally made the place non-compliant with CMS standards, and we lost federal funding, leading to a reduction in our operating capacity.

Many of our nurses and technicians quit during the attempted privatization. We make a pretty penny as state employees and this is a very dangerous job. I need both hands to count our staff assaults in the last 3 months. And if a client assaults a staff member, they go to jail long enough for their charges to be dropped and then they return to us for treatment, usually to the same staff they have just assaulted.

While our patients are here they hardly have access to anything close to adult entertainment. We have a gym, a TV room, a rehab department, and a rock wall. That's it. We hold a few groups but they're the same groups every week and many of our clients are unit restricted.

While here our shit facilities would make a sane person manifest negative behavior, let alone a person experiencing a mental health crisis.

Our staff are under-trained and mismanaged. No one uses the de-escalation or redirection techniques we're taught. A few of us do but most of our staff are just fucking mean for no reason. Furthermore the qualifications are so weak because this place is full of horror stories. No one applies to work here. I started here at 19 with a GED, and I had sick adults placed in my care. Its a joke.

Why is this relevant? Because our politicians (here) made detrimental changes to our mental health system and effectively broke it in order to secure funds for a bigger permanent fund dividend. Our state budget has been pretty fucked as of late, and the legislator has been filling the gaps with the PFD (free money people here get annually from a fund set up to pay out oil profit to citizens of the state) reducing its amount. However the PFD has been MASSIVE in comparison to how big it used to be. Basically during his campaign he said "I'll make sure you get more money if you vote for me," and it worked. He fixed the issue by reducing the state budget, cutting funds to our college and trying to make our mental health facility someone else's financial problem with a sneaky back-door deal. He almost got away with it, and he isn't done trying.

One man should not be allowed to subvert the will of people for being different and to satisfy his own greed. Last week I had a client come in covered in massive fresh bruises that he reported came from DoC  while he was in holding there for an evaluation. The client was not dangerous, just disorganized. He reported a Corrections officer stepped on the back of his neck during a BMR to administer crisis meds. I'm Livid.

I'm making this post because its an interesting story. I don't know what to do to fix the issue other than attempting to raise awareness. Currently I'm working with our local ST members, but there's like 15 of us and the others don't have any goals other than being a part of the ST. My wife and I are on our own up here trying to do something about this, but we're fucked on new ideas.

Does anyone have any tips? Or contacts that can give us some advice?


Xepera maSet

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Re: Shelving the mentally ill
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2019, 12:01:21 am »
I'll be honest, I basically ran from my social work career because we were working directly with the department of child safety to objectively improve their systems, and they literally didn't give a shit. We wasted years and resources and they just ignored it all.

"Do not try to make the sun rise by self-sacrifice,  but wait in confidence for the dawn, and enjoy the pleasure of the night."
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Km Anu

Re: Shelving the mentally ill
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2019, 12:59:04 am »
I'll be honest, I basically ran from my social work career because we were working directly with the department of child safety to objectively improve their systems, and they literally didn't give a shit. We wasted years and resources and they just ignored it all.

I'm sorry to hear that. We have an adolescent unit that's been closed for a year because 2 kids were hurt by staff.

Xepera maSet

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Re: Shelving the mentally ill
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2019, 01:12:56 am »
Yeah it's a mess. I was at a private company so we were all psych and social degrees. The state will literally hire a forestry major if they have the magical paper.

"Do not try to make the sun rise by self-sacrifice,  but wait in confidence for the dawn, and enjoy the pleasure of the night."
- Crowley

Km Anu

Re: Shelving the mentally ill
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2019, 02:39:14 am »
Oh my gosh I know.

More than anything I just think our governor is a fucking worm.

"Free money vote for me!" That shit should be illegal.

And then the money comes from public programs. Whoops no one thought about that! Makes me sick.