Monday, January 08, 2007

"I'm the face of a thousand people behind me just crying for help"

One mother in Utah has tried to help three of her adult children get the treatment they need. But what does it take to get them that treatment?

For these three siblings, the answer was murder, a suicide attempt, and an arrest. Two of the three are now receiving treatment in prison.

In 2005, nearly 1,300 people deemed "seriously and persistently mentally ill" were booked into Salt Lake County Metro jail. To incarcerate, assess and treat this population would cost the county more than $7.3 million.

That's just one jail system, and doesn't account for the human costs, said [Sherri] Wittwer [of NAMI Utah].

"What a difference it would make, for the individual, the family and the community, if we intervened earlier."

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