Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act
A growing trend in the delivery of mental health services is the use of peer support workers. Peers, who have themselves experienced some kind of mental illness, can help meet some of the many needs that people with the most severe mental illnesses have. However, various ideological agendas have led the internationally powerful peer support movement in questionable directions.
Families in Canada fighting for evidence-based care for relatives living with psychotic disorders should see the tenacity of the American families. And Democratic Americans abroad, like me, can let our representatives know that we want the mental health system to begin to meet the needs of people with the most severe illnesses.
Families are being encouraged through groups like HVM to think of auditory hallucinations, delusions, disorganized thinking, impaired functioning and other symptoms of severe mental illnesses as just part of the human condition, not medical problems.
It's easy to think that if we just put more money into some kind of mental health services we could solve the problem. This belief prevents us from understanding the other complicated forces at work that keep some people trapped in severe mental illnesses.
During the new session of the U.S. Congress, legislators will be considering the proposed "Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act." The decisions they make can have a big impact on mental health care in Canada.
This might come as quite a shock to the many American families I know who can't get treatment for their very ill sons and daughters whose psychotic states aren't 'passing.' These are families whose children have joined the millions of Americans living with untreated severe mental illnesses. They are homeless, victimized, and cycling in and out of jails and prisons.
Not having proper services for serious mental illnesses has already resulted in all of the problems listed by the various reports done by governments -- homelessness, incarceration, destroyed lives and fractured families. What we need and we need it now is political action to bring about the needed changes.