by Comprehensive Staff
There is a lot of talk about mental health these days. We hear about violent episodes like shootings in malls or schools. Many express fear and want those people locked up. We read about crises at our state intuitions and the resulting legal and regulatory fallout from them. Policymakers are quick to seek large investments in more hospitals and state facilities.
The problems are complex and the answers aren’t simple but locking everyone up isn’t going to solve the problem. We can build all the big institutions we want and we will just fill them up and need even more beds and buildings. Sure, some people need periods of intensive treatment and placement in secure settings.
The fact is, though, that most people respond well enough to good assertive community treatment that they can be successful in the community. They can get better, live productive lives and in many cases go to work or school. The problem is that we never invest in those things that work. We spend our money at the deep, expensive end of the problem and don’t take advantage of what we know works. Imagine if all we had for physical healthcare was emergency rooms, hospitals and hospices, and no doctor’s offices. That’s very much what has happened in the mental health arena for years.
Lately I’ve been saying that community-based treatment trumps institutional care very time. It’s true. Science supports it. Let’s tell our policymakers we want a system that works for patients and for community safety.
Submitted by Rick Weaver, CEO