posted by King Minos in Health

Taking You to Milledgeville!

January 16, 2013

I guess I date myself when I relate the fact that some of my middle and high school teachers predicted that I would one day end up in Milledgeville! When it comes to mental health care in GA, and across the nation, we have BEFORE REAGAN and AFTER REAGAN. Before Reagan, most states had state funded mental health hospitals funded by both federal and state monies; after Reagan many state hospitals were closed under the theory this health care spending was wasteful and potentially harmful to the patients, themselves. Conservatives, then, saw a potential to save money while also upping privacy and other protections for mentally ill individuals!

I grew-up in the BR region when those who needed it were indeed sent up to the state mental hospital in Milledgeville for safekeeping; nowadays, we are in the AR mental health days where severely mentally ill individuals are mainstreamed in society; sometimes successfully, and sometimes, spectacularly, UNSUCCESSFULLY!

Gov. Deal says he'd allow some administrators in the public schools to carry guns; now that's all fine, and if this would mean they would not have to hire expensive public safety officials -- and thus could save some scarce education dollars -- I see no harm in it. But he and his fellow conservatives could REALLY make a splash if they'd consider re instituting a public state institution to house mentally ill individuals.

NOW I KNOW it would be expensive. But it would ALSO save a lot of money if we consider the time, effort and costs associated with "caring for" the mentally ill in our courts and prisons, and on the streets. Plenty of these folks would NEVER enter these systems nor harm anyone, or themselves, if they'd been locked-up and cared for in the state hospital!

Conservatives got it wrong when they went along with Reagan's half-baked plan to allow the mentally ill to care for themselves; one can talk to almost ANY Georgia sheriff to get an earful about the results of that experiment! In fact, the advent of the financial and economic crisis along with high unemployment may be driving-up the numbers of mentally ill people in society. Have we reached a tipping point?

Of course, I suppose some of the legislators, themselves, may worry they might be adjudicated insane, and summarily sent away to Milledgeville! In truth, really, it's the threat of certification and commitment that serves to keep many of them -- and some of us -- out of the abyss!

The governor and the GA legislature could start a helpful discussion on how to take care of the state's mentally ill citizens if they would see this for the opportunity it really is; let's face it, if there were fewer crazy folks running loose, gun violence -- and calls for restrictions on the 2nd Amendment -- might be lowered significantly.

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