Saturday, May 4, 2013

Preventing Advocacy for the Mentally Ill

The video embedded below is an example of the censorship faced by Mary Neal regarding efforts to give ASSISTANCE TO THE INCARCERATED MENTALLY ILL. In January 2009, Rep. Eddie Johnson (D-TX) introduced H.R.619, a bill into U.S. Congress that would have resumed Medicaid insurance payments for psychiatric inpatients. That funding was deleted in the 1970s. As a result, private prisons were opened across the nation because of overcrowding as hundreds of thousands of mentally ill people who were released from hospitals became prison inmates instead of hospital inpatients. Their health condition had been criminalized. The concept of imprisoning rather than treating America's acute mental patients is very lucrative for numerous prison investors moonlighting as public officials.

Today America has approximately 1.25 million mentally ill inmates, without whom private prisons would not exist. Sick people are the backbone of the private prison industry. Between incarcerating psychiatric patients and the War on Drugs, private prison owners and investors created a huge empire by taking full advantage of victims' psychiatric conditions and drug addictions. I became the most censored person in America because of my advocacy to expose and oppose the mass incarceration and murders of America's mentally ill.

The proposal to resume using Medicaid for psychiatric hospitals under H.R.619 died in congressional committees. It was a bill that would have made mental hospitalization available for indigent acute mental patients BEFORE tragedies and avoidable crimes. But cyber stalkers were hired to prevent advocacy by hundreds of members of Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill, an online human rights organization. Throughout 2009 and 2010, years when national health care insurance was the main subject on every news show, H.R.619 was never mentioned by any journalist. The system did not want America to know that an alternative to arrests of mental patients was on the table.

Families of acute mental patients are ordinarily denied assistance for their loved ones experiencing crises. Sick Americans are deliberately left untreated until after crimes in order to keep the prison system well fed. Municipalities actually have quotas they must fulfill with private prison companies in their areas - contracts promise private prisons to keep them filled to a certain level, then our courts deliver. The worse the crimes that are committed by psychiatric patients, the longer prison terms they receive, and the more money prison investors get as a result of those sentences. That is, IF they make it to jail alive and are not killed by police officers while in custody. Many sick people are not so lucky.

Denying treatment for the lack of mental hospital beds and awaiting a crime to treat the mentally ill does not save tax money. It only redirects tax money to prisons instead of to treatment facilities.

Chronic health conditions like congestive heart failure and kidney failure are treated medically. Only mental illness is treated legally. Only mentally challenged people are shot or Tasered to death when they experience health crises - which is a circumstance that should be avoided by community care under an assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) program so that no hospitalization or incarceration would be necessary.

The criminal justice system must wait until AFTER there is a crime to act. If mental illness was not criminalized, our communities would be safer, because sick people would not be left untreated unless and until they commit some crime ranging from vagrancy to murders.

Demand an end to criminalizing mental illness. Demand that psychiatric conditions be treated as a chronic medical condition and not as a crime. Ask your congressional representative to reintroduce a bill like H.R.619 to resume health insurance for inpatient care for our mentally ill relatives and neighbors in crises and those who require long-term containment. Demand that AOT programs are enacted and used for psychiatric patients in your communities. AOT programs give subsistence assistance and mandated psychiatric treatment. AOT programs should be ordered for every psychiatric patient exiting a mental hospital or correctional institution to help them avoid future hospitalizations, incarcerations, death-by-police, and homelessness. Give ASSISTANCE TO THE INCARCERATED MENTALLY ILL.

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