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May 25, 2010

The Clarion Ledger - May 25, 2010 - During the past session, Gov. Haley Barbour, of Mississippi, proposed closing some of the state's mental health facilities, saying the state relies too much on residential services instead of community-based treatment. His plan would have saved $18 million in Fiscal Year 2011 and another $10 million in 2012 by closing four residential mental health facilities and six of the seven crisis mental health centers.

While moving to more community-based systems is a laudable goal, the plan to close key residential centers as well as crisis centers would have been a major setback in services to the mentally ill. In some areas, it would mean locking them away in jails, something the state has sought to move away from with crisis centers.

The Legislature didn't adopt Barbour's plans, but the trickle down effect is taking hold.

Money was not provided to pay matching funds for Medicaid services provided by the 15 community-based centers. The Board of Mental Health has said the centers must pay the debt or no longer be approved as providers. Department of Mental Health Executive Director Ed LeGrand, who has been warning of this potential crisis for months, says the department cannot pay $12 million needed without closing residential services. Community mental health center budgets are built on Medicaid.

It is a complex issue that most likely is headed to court and will need a legislative solution, not only for this year but for coming years. A study committee has been looking at mental health issues.

Ultimately, there must be a unified philosophy and approach that allows the state to coordinate and utilize community-based centers with the goal of preventing and reducing need for residential care, something that has not seemed to be politically possible so far.

There doesn't appear to be a debate over the advantages of community-based care, but how to do it without pushing down costs and in a manner that maintains a uniform approach and standards.

The solution is simply closing residential centers or pushing down costs locally and impacting services to some of the most vulnerable people in the state.

Mary's comment:

GOVERNOR, JAIL IS NOT CHEAPER.  I hope mentally ill people in Mississippi and their families sue the state for forcing them out of residential facilities into jails if the state adopts that plan.  Prison profiteering saves taxpayers nothing, plus it is immoral and discriminatory.  When treatment and care are withheld from mentally ill Americans, they should do as Ohio Mentally Ill inmates did - sue for discrimination.  Only mental illness is answered with imprisonment.  All other sick and handicapped persons are treated for their health conditions.  That is not "liberty and justice for all."

Full news article at

Mary Neal
Assistance to the incarcerated Mentally Ill

JAIL IS THE LAST THING MENTAL PATIENTS NEED ... AND TOO OFTEN, JAIL IS THE LAST THING THEY EXPERIENCE. Please join us in our quest to decriminalize mental illness in America. No one should be punished for having a disability.

Mar 7, 2010

Dog Justice


From the website, Wrongful Death of Larry Neal

A young mother became alarmed in her local grocery store when she realized that her active three-year-old son was no longer trotting along behind her as she shopped. She and the store personnel hurriedly searched up and down the aisles looking for him and calling his name. They found the little tot sitting on the floor near the checkout on aisle 7, surrounded by colorful candy wrappers. He had opened dozens of different candies and sampled each one! His mouth and chin were covered with chocolate, and melted candy was smeared across his shirt and on the floor around him.

In a similar incident, my brother, Larry, walked into a supermarket one summer day, taking the opportunity to enjoy the air conditioning, for it was oppressively hot outside. As he walked down the fresh food aisle, his eyes fell on the rows of plump, sweet grapes. He stopped at that display, and with no effort to conceal his actions, Larry began to eat the grapes. They were cool and good, and he laughed aloud, delighted at how pleasant they tasted. Larry was interrupted in his consumption by an angry clerk who was yelling and pointing at him, directing the store guard to restrain that thief while the police were called. In fact, Larry was no more a thief than the three-year-old, because neither of them was acting out of malice, and in both scenarios an essential element of crime was missing: intent. Indeed, neither the three-year-old boy nor my mentally ill brother, in his diminished capacity, was capable of planning and executing a real crime.

The child rebelled when his mother lifted him away from the sweet feast. The youngster began to cry loudly and struggle against his mother to get back to “his” candy. But the boy’s mother was bigger and stronger than he was, and she effortlessly carried him away from the scene of his “crime.” Contrarily, no one in Larry’s family was big or strong enough to extricate him from the many situations his mental illness caused as he wandered at will the streets of Memphis. Indeed, Larry’s family was not allowed to either restrict his movements or enforce psychiatric treatment and drugs to help him. After all, mentally unstable people like Larry have their rights!

There are those organizations that denounce enforced hospitalization and treatment of the mentally ill, calling such intervention a violation of civil rights. The sincere efforts of such organizations may benefit those mentally ill persons who manage to stay clear of our nation’s jails; however, for thousands of others like Larry, it is just as unreasonable to expect them to run their own lives without psychiatric drugs and restraint as it would have been for the young mother to allow her little boy to finish the candy at his leisure and then find his own way home. Let those organizations fight not only for the rights of the moderately mentally ill, but let them also fight for inpatient care for mentally ill men and women who are today serving time for committing crimes they cannot even understand as well as for scores of mentally ill persons who are homeless, living under wretched conditions and deprived of treatment that might restore them to wholesome lives. (Visit the website for more information on Larry - how he lived, how he died.)  ____________________

Please join the 230 members at Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally ill and the 230,000 members of NAMI in supporting H.R. 619 to resume Medicaid funding for inpatient psychiatric care.  That will help people in crisis to have short-term hospitalization to stabilize them, and it would provide long-term care for patients whose conditions require containment and constant monitoring.  Long-term hospitalization is requried for violent patients as well as harmless people like Larry who cannot function at an acceptable level because of acute mental illness.

I know criminalizing mental illness cannot last much longer.  America has too many decent people in decision-making capacities.  All voters are in decision-making capacities, so that means YOU.  Please contact your representatives today and ask where they stand on H.R.619 to fund inpatient care for psychiatric patients, and tell them where you stand.  I hope you and your representatives will stand with NAMI and AIMI members as we seek to give ASSISTANCE TO THE INCARCERATED MENTALLY ILL.


Mary Neal

Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill

Apr 6, 2009
Please note and promote.  Care2 News link:

Illegal Psychiatric Drugs Marketed to Children - Multi-State Scheme Charted/Exposed
Health & Wellness 

FDA must approve drugs to allow prescriptions. Yet two million children are currently being prescribed psychiatry's most powerful drugs, the newer antipsychotics (heavy tranquilizers), off-label. Federal prosecutors are . . .


Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of or its affiliates.


Mary Neal
, 5, 2 children
Atlanta, GA, USA
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