Archive for the ‘Mental Illness’ Category

City Seeks Guardianship for 9-1-1 ‘Super User’

November 17, 2013

Unsure how to curb frequent 911 calls by a system “super user,” Washington, D.C., officials met earlier this year to discuss a solution. Their decision: Seek a guardianship to handle the woman’s medical affairs.

Their guardianship petition alleges the woman, Martha Rigsby, 58, has bipolar and borderline personality disorders, the Washington Post reports. A guardian may not be able to stop Rigsby’s calls, but he or she could hire a home health aide to help her, for example, or could recommend a different living arrangement.

Rigsby has dialed 911 more than any other Washington, D.C., resident, the story says. She began making the calls in 1977; in the past year, 266 calls have been placed because of her fainting spells or falls. About 40 percent of the time she makes her own calls for help; bystanders placed the other calls after seeing her fall. About 55 percent of the time, she declines to get in the ambulance.

Other cities have tried similar measures.

The city of San Francisco, for example, sought conservatorships for as many as a dozen frequent 911 callers each year during a pilot program to curb super users.

Rigsby is fighting the guardianship petition with the help of a court-appointed lawyer. The case has been delayed until January to allow for a neuropsychological evaluation.

City Seeks Guardianship for 911 ‘Super User’

Arizona Wants a Database to Track People Under Court-Ordered Mental Health Treatment

October 30, 2013

The Arizona Criminal Justice Commission wants a database to keep track of people who are under court-ordered mental health treatment.

The database known as the Mental-Health Registry is under construction and will be managed by the state Supreme Court, according to the Arizona Capitol Times (

It will tell police officers whether a person exhibiting possible signs of mental illness is undergoing treatment under the supervision of the court or deemed mentally incompetent by a court.

Proposed legislation also would close gaps in laws that prohibit certain people from possessing a firearm, such as those who are under indictment, under guardianship for mental incapacity or found to be mentally incompetent.

The state currently reports people who have been involuntarily committed to a mental institution to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, the database used for checking the backgrounds of gun buyers.

However, only about 10 percent of them are reported because of an inadequate digital record-keeping system.

The state doesn’t report people who have been determined to be incompetent.

Full Article and Source:
Correction – Mental Health Database Story

Bill would allow “concerned parties” to petition to detain individuals with mental illness

October 28, 2013

Family members and concerned parties could get the right to petition county officials to detain individuals with mental illnesses in an emergency if a new bill is approved by the Legislature.

The bill, which received a public hearing Tuesday along with 11 other bills, would not only allow law enforcement officers to take mentally ill individuals into custody but would also allow any “interested parties” to petition for emergency detentions.

The bill would empower families to help individuals who are in imminent danger and gives such parties the opportunity to challenge the county’s decision, bill sponsor Rep. John Jagler, R-Watertown, said. 

Assembly Committee on Health member Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, said she is concerned the bill’s language of “interested parties” is too broad because it could essentially allow any person to file a petition.

Jagler said he intends to clarify the language used, but intends for the interested parties to include family members and attending physicians.

Counties are also required to respond to the party’s request within 24 hours and provide a written response if their request is turned down under the bill. Parties would then be able to petition the court if their request is turned down and a judge could decide whether a temporary hold of the individual is necessary.

Sarah Diedrick-Kasdorf, senior legislative associate for the Wisconsin Counties Association, said it is possible counties would turn down requests because county employees are already working with the individuals but cannot reveal such records because of doctor-patient confidentiality.

Diedrick-Kasdorf said the bill could also likely lead to an increase in emergency detentions because families would have no other option if their request was denied.

Counties would also be required to pay court and attorney fees if their response to a family’s request is reversed by a judge, which would dramatically increase costs for counties, Todd Liebman, corporation counsel for Sauk County, said.

Taylor said she is concerned about the costs for the county, as Dane County already struggles with funding for mental healthcare.

“When I first read this, I thought, ‘This is going to cost a fortune for the counties,’” Taylor said.

Jagler said the payment of fees is a financial safeguard, since the “loser” of the petition, whether it be the family or the county, pays the court costs.

Rep. Pat Strachota, R-West Bend, said there is also a possibility of frivolous suits, such as a husband or wife in a contentious divorce trying to detain their significant other.

“When you’re talking about personal situations where someone is lying out of spite, that would be a felony,” Jagler said of Strachota’s example. “To give false testimony to try to get somebody committed is a felony. If a person tries to go down this avenue to get somebody detained, the court costs would go to the petitioner, but if a judge agrees with the petitioner, the county would pay the court costs.”

Full Article and Source:
Bill would allow “concerned parties” to petition to detain individuals with mental illness

Feds to Move Away from DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders)

May 16, 2013

Just weeks before a new version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is scheduled for release, the head of the National Institute of Mental Health says it’s time to change how mental conditions are categorized.

The agency will be redirecting its research focus away from the symptom-based diagnostic criteria of the DSM toward more scientifically verifiable standards, the mental health agency’s director, Thomas Insel, wrote in a recent blog post.

By shifting away from thinking about mental disorders as they are currently classified in the DSM, Insel says researchers will be able to establish a new diagnostic system based on emerging science.

“Unlike our definitions of ischemic heart disease, lymphoma or AIDS, the DSM diagnoses are based on a consensus about clusters of clinical symptoms, not any objective laboratory measure,” Insel wrote. “Patients with mental disorders deserve better.”

The DSM update has been met with significant controversy, particularly surrounding changes to the definition of autism. The new version is expected to eliminate Asperger’s syndrome and fold it as well as childhood disintegrative disorder and pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified under a broader diagnosis of “autism spectrum disorder.”

Separately, the new manual is also expected to replace “mental retardation” with the more commonly accepted term “intellectual disability.” What’s more, the definition of the disorder is being tweaked to put less emphasis on IQ score and allow more consideration for clinical assessment.

The DSM is relied on by mental health professionals, researchers, insurers and others to determine what symptoms merit a clinical diagnosis. The current edition was originally released in 1994 and was updated in 2000.

Full Article and Source:
Feds to Move Away from DSM

Nevada Busses Hundreds of Mentally Ill Around Country

April 29, 2013

Over the past five years, Nevada’s primary state psychiatric hospital has put hundreds of mentally ill patients on Greyhound buses and sent them to cities and towns across America.

Since July 2008, Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas has transported more than 1,500 patients to other cities via, Greyhound bus, sending at least one person to every state in the continental United States, according to a Bee review of bus receipts kept by Nevada’s mental health  division.

About a third of those patients were dispatched to California, including more than 200 to Los Angeles County, about 70 to San Diego County and 19 to the city of Sacramento. In recent years, as Nevada has slashed funding for mental health services, the number of mentally ill patients being bused out of southern Nevada has steadily risen, growing 66 percent from 2009 to 2012. During that same period, the hospital has dispersed those patients to an ever-increasing number of states. By last year, Rawson-Neal bused out patients at a pace of well over one per day, shipping nearly 400 patients to a total of 176 cities and 45 states across the nation.

Nevada’s approach to dispatching mentally ill patients has come under scrutiny since one of its clients turned up suicidal and confused at a Sacramento homeless services complex. James Flavy Coy Brown, who is 48 and suffers from a variety of  mood disorders including schizophrenia, was discharged in February from Rawson-Neal to a Greyhound bus for Sacramento, a place he had never visited and where he knew no one.

The hospital sent him on the 15-hour  bus ride without making arrangements for his treatment or housing in California; he arrived in Sacramento out of medication and without identification or access to his Social Security payments.  He wound up in the UC Davis Medical Center’s emergency room, where he lingered for three days until social workers were able to find him temporary housing.

Nevada mental health officials have acknowledged making mistakes in Brown’s case, but have made no apologies for their policy of busing patients out of state.

Full Article and Source:
Nevada Busses Hundres of Mentally Ill Patients to Cities Around Country

The Waiting Game: Mentally Ill Patients in New Hampshire Face Spartan Conditions, Long Delays

March 26, 2013

Concord — Joshua Knight was alone, had been for hours. He curled up on the mattress on the floor, shut his eyes and tried to block out his memories of the day.
Knight, 33, had been handcuffed and dragged out of his basement apartment in Chichester that September day last year. His mother, Carla Northrup, had been crying so hard the police told her she had to leave because she was upsetting him even more.
She hadn’t been to see him at Concord Hospital, where the police had brought him, not yet. So Knight was alone.
He had a mattress, bolted to the floor. A plastic cube served as a hard, backless chair. A television glowed behind a plastic window. At least the staff was kind enough to leave him the remote, he remembered four months after his three-day stay in what is known as “Yellow Pod,” a handful of rooms at the hospital staffed by Riverbend Community Mental Health.
For the first two days of his stay at Yellow Pod, Northrup called the hospital to check on her son. Hearing it could be several days more before a bed was available at New Hampshire Hospital, the state psychiatric facility in Concord, she visited to drop off clean clothes and magazines.
The room smelled of urine. Knight was unresponsive, curled up on the mattress so tightly his wrists hurt for weeks after from being tucked into his chest.
Doctors would come and go, assuring him they were working on getting him to the state hospital. He didn’t believe them.
He couldn’t go outside for three days, until he was transferred to the state facility.
“It’s really frightening,” he said. “I was locked up in this little room, this tiny cell. I was treated like somebody who couldn’t take care of themself. Like an animal.”
Knight, who suffers from depression and anxiety, was alone, but his experience is not singular.

Full Article & Source:
The Waiting Game: Mentally Ill Patients in New Hampshire Face Spartan Conditions, Long Delays

Firing bad judges

February 26, 2013

You haven’t heard the last of Cook County Circuit Judge Cynthia Brim, who was ejected from her courtroom during a bizarre rant, got arrested for throwing a set of keys at a deputy sheriff and was acquitted of misdemeanor battery after pleading insanity.

She’s still not allowed in the courthouse without an escort, but she hopes to return to the bench soon, and why not? In November — eight months after her arrest — voters awarded her another six-year term.

Voters had no way of knowing it was the fifth time she’d been hospitalized for a mental breakdown after she stopped taking her meds. But they had plenty of other reasons to fire her. She’d been found unqualified by local bar associations who evaluated her in this election cycle, and the one before, and the one before that. Each time, she won another term.

Yes, the voters have spoken. Somehow we don’t think they were saying, Great job, Judge Brim! More likely they got to the bottom of the ballot, where 57 unfamiliar names awaited an up-or-down vote, and punted.

They voted yes on all of them. Or maybe no. Or they didn’t vote at all. It’s been 22 years since voters tossed a judge from the bench, and it’s not because Cook County has only good judges. It’s because the system protects the bad ones. It must be changed.

Full Article & Source:
Firing bad judges

Dear Abby:

January 29, 2013

DEAR ABBY – My husband’s younger sister, “Cindy,” is mentally ill. She has caused tremendous problems in the family. She has been arrested too many times to remember and is now on five years’ probation for injury to a child. My in-laws continue making excuses for her and are the worst enablers I have ever known.

My husband once urged his dad to put Cindy into a group home or program that will take care of her because his parents are getting up in years. They refuse because it would mean they’d have to have Cindy officially committed, and they think there is still some magic doctor out there who will fix her.

Can my husband do anything as a last effort before something happens to one of his parents, or she winds up in jail?

DEAR SAD – Your husband should try to convince his parents to get some family counseling. It might help them accept that their daughter needs more help than they are equipped to give her. An outside, objective person should weigh in so that Cindy can get the professional help she so obviously needs.

If she is physically, psychologically or emotionally abusing her parents, Adult Protective Services can step in to be sure they are protected. When your in-laws pass away, if your sister-in-law becomes a danger to herself or those around her, a family member can request a commitment and psychological evaluation.

Dear Abby

Scientists: Creativity Part of ‘Mental Illness’

October 22, 2012

If you like to express yourself through painting, writing, or any other form of artistic action, scientists now say that you must be suffering from a mental illness of some kind. In a new display of how truly insane the mainstream medical health paradigm has become, mainstream media outlets are now regurgitating the words of ‘experts’ who say that those who are creative are actually, more often than not, mentally ill.

After all, more than 50% of the United States is, by definition of the psychiatrists of the nation, mentally ill. Even questioning the government is considered a mental disorder. It should come as no surprise to know that upwards of 70% of the psychiatrists who write the conditions are — of course — on the payroll of those who produce the drugs to ‘treat’ the conditions. It should also therefore come as no surprise to note that the DSM (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which is the foundation of the entire diagnosis system) now contains over 900 pages of bogus disorders.

Full Article and Source:
Scientists: Creativity Part of ‘Mental Illness’