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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Praise for Families

Over the last few years, I've had the fortune of acquiring an extensive network of friends who have advocated and still advocate for the severely mentally ill population. The majority of these friends are family members of people with severe mental illnesses. Their horror stories about the barriers faced in accessing care for their sick loved ones are evidence of our broken system. I've seen them fight relentlessly for good mental health treatment.

I recall the many times as an inpatient psychiatric social worker when I couldn't think of anything to say to families besides "My hands are tied. There's nothing further I can do. The doctor is ordering the discharge, not me. I know you're angry." Some of them lashed out angrily at me. I didn't take it personally. I knew they were at a point beyond frustration. Others told me they understood it wasn't my fault that their ill loved ones were getting discharged prematurely again.

This network of new friends also includes Mary Barksdale and Robert "Joe" Bruce. Mary's son Farron killed two police officers in Alabama while delusional, unaware of this, and unmedicated. Robert's son William killed his mother, Amy in Maine while delusional, unaware of this, and unmedicated. These and countless other stories inspire me to join their fight. They remind me to stand courageously when I authorize involuntary transfers to hospitals for patients whom I know will be discharged prematurely. In fact, when I think about my patients with psychosis and anosognosia who didn't want help during my inpatient years, I cannot identify one patient who was discharged at the appropriate time.

To learn about the Bruce family, please click on the following link:
Joe Bruce's story

To learn about the Barksdale family, please click on the following link:
Farron's story


2 comments:

Ann Pollack said...

http://www.waff.com/story/9424177/inmate-claims-he-knows-what-killed-farron-barksdale If this is true, the guards who beat this man who murdered two innocent police officers deserve a commendation and raise. The murderer's mother does not appear to have any remorse or guilt about what her son did. I wonder if she is planning to turn over her lawsuit money to the families of the two officers who were senselessly murdered. This is a miscarriage of justice for the taxpayers' money going to the mother of a cop-killer instead of the families of the victims. I don't care in the slightest if this man was schizophrenic. That is no excuse for what he did, and the guards deserve a reward for what they did.

Lynn said...

Ann Pollack: I hesitated to allow publication of this because it is insensitive and offensive toward Farron and everyone who supported him. I then decided to remind people that you, and probably others with views similar to yours, exist. Knowing the opposition is important when advocating for the mentally ill population.

I suspect that you are uneducated about what schizophrenia is. I encourage you to read "Total Eclipse of the Mind." Your statements above are repulsive and outrageous. The judge on Farron's case should have concluded that he was not guilty and not responsible for these incidents due to schizophrenia.