Friday, November 16, 2007

Finding someone to blame

Who is to blame when tragedy results from untreated severe mental illness?

At the end of October in Richmond, VA, Johnny Hughes, a man with untreated schizophrenia, fatally stabbed a woman while she was walking her dog.

The author of a new blog - “families for timely mental health treatment laws” – noticed some of the comments posted on the website of the Richmond Times Dispatch regarding this story. Many blamed the family of Johnny Hughes for not monitoring him.

Posted October 30, 2007 @ 09:55 AM by Anonymousafter reading this man's rap sheet i too am finding compassion a hard sell. i agree the family dropped the ball, this man needed to be under lock and key somewhere and his family should own up to their responcibility.

The author of the “families for treatment” blog responds to these comments with the perspective of someone who has tried to help a loved-one get treatment.

Blame and pointing a finger at families who try desperately to get help for their loved ones and who often are involved in advocating for the changes needed will not resolve the issue of ensuring that someone with a mental illness receives the treatment they need. Enacting common-sense, timely assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) laws with adequate services and programs, as well as providing sufficient support in a hospital when needed, is what should happen.

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