Wednesday, July 19, 2006

How to get into an inpatient psychiatric facility ...

Is the only way to access inpatient treatment for someone who is extremely ill an act of unfathomable violence?

William Bruce will be moved from prison to a psychiatric facilty at least long enough for evaluation - the local sheriff is relieved, noting the prison isn't a good place for inmates with serious mental health conditions. Bruce killed his mother, his family had been trying desperately to help him.

Too often such horrible events spur a call for punishment instead of compassion. Andrea Yates' fate is being decided in the deaths of her 5 children for a second time, but recall that the first time, she ended up in jail. That is where Brenda Drayton is headed as well - for the next 20-30 years, for killing her daughter.

Most often weak state laws make us wait until a crime is committed to help someone ... and then the focus is on punishment, not treatment. People with severe mental illnesses deserve to get real help from the civil treatment system before situations occur that lead them to be punished by the criminal one.

William Bruce, Andrea Yates, Brenda Drayton - if they could have been on an outpatient commitment order long before they committed murder, they might not have gotten so sick to need a hospital bed ... or land in a jail cell.

Labels: , , ,