More on Mental Health

Clayton Cramer has an article on the subject in the National Review. Also, see this Cato Unbound paper on addressing involuntary commitment. More from Dave Hardy. Clayton also discusses Involuntary Outpatient Commitment.

Apparently the mother of the child murderer tried to have him committed, according to a member of a local church congregation in Newtown, and who also is coincidentally a Twitter follower of mine, known around these parts, and someone the anti-gun folks decided to put into the Twitter gulag while his congregation is dealing with members who lost children (way to be classy guys). I’m sure, like most of us, he was too bent out of shape this past weekend to organize protests to start off the week.

25 thoughts on “More on Mental Health”

  1. The ACLU fought long and hard against involuntary commitment. We have this ridiculous situation with a dangerously mentally ill man unsupervised while he fights against being treated. Good job guys.

    1. Who sets the bar at who gets committed involuntarily? The slope is slippery and can be abused ala Rose Kennedy.

      1. I don’t think we’re going to go back to that. It’ll never be as easy as it once was. But there has to be an alternative to using the prison system to house the mentally ill.

        1. It’s always easier to drum up support to fund punishment than to fund intervention. In the case of mental illness, without a stable, sane “will” there is no one to punish. We can send the body to prison after the fact, but that’s small consolation to victims and of no real consequence to the insane person.

          It’s not realistic to expect parents to control and supervise adult children with pervasive mental health or developmental issues, for one thing, no one can stay awake 24/7 for 50 years. But currently there is nowhere for the majority of mentally ill people to go, other than their parents homes, the streets, or–after doing something heinous–to jail. From what I’ve seen, the effort toward deinstitutionalization was sincere, but the evidence of the past 40 years should be more than enough to show that some kind of supervised housing is needed for the protection of mentally ill people, their families, and our communities. I don’t know if homes modeled on the halfway house model used for paroled prisoners are the answer but I do know that doing nothing will only result in a push to limit everyone’s rights down to the level of the least capable among us, i.e. severe gun control.

          It’s going to cost money, but I don’t think the actual cost of prevention would be more than what we already pay one way or another for prisons, police, crime & other problems associated with homelessness, and random murders.

          1. The costs of drawing chalk marks, trying mentally ill offenders for murder (start at $250,000 and go up with number of victims and level of psychiatric expert witneses), and then sending them to prison for 30 years (figure $1.5 million) will buy a LOT of mental health care.

            1. How does it compare to any reasonable system we might do that would ensure someone keeps taking their nasty side effecting meds for the rest of their life?

              And then there’s the lack of a consolidated budget problem, our current policies shift the spending, and I’ll note conveniently towards our police-judicial complex, which despite lower crime rates isn’t laying anyone off because of that.

        2. And it wasn’t even as easy as it once was when it once was. It wasn’t perfect, but there was something roughly like due process everywhere. Maine might be one of the counterexamples, where emergency commitment had no time limit.

        3. You have a level of optimism I could never reach. I think we’re heading into a very dangerous era and the move to disarm the American people could be the tipping point.

  2. Anyone here think the founding fathers of this country weren’t labeled as mentally ill and murderers and terrorists? You’re deceiving yourself.

    1. Mentally ill? Can you point to even one example? There was one of the founding fathers who was labeled mentally ill — but that was by his friends. He had a mental illness breakdown just before the Revolution.

      1. You’re putting psychologists in place of police. No one wins. Let me know how you feel after you’ve been accused of having an illness and your rights are abridged.

        1. And concerning the historical record of this country you should learn to read between the lines. I know from personal experience what happens to dissidents in a “free” country.

      2. “— but that was by his friends.”

        Well with friends like you who needs enemies? Imagine if you will a dissident. His enemies try to have him either committed to a mental health institution or to prison. His friends protest vehemently against the prison option, but wholeheartedly support sending him to the insane asylum. What kind of world are you imagining with your stupid ideas about supplanting authoritarians with mind police. In terms of liberty there is essentially no difference.

    1. This book is hogshit…brother, girlfriend, family, friends…the lack of introspection that is typical of social coercives who have “witnessed” the downfall of another.

      1. Yes, I agree that we need to be careful of who is held involunarily–even in cases where someone is mentally ill–but schizophrenia is nonetheless real, as is the problems that come with it.

        You should try reading Clayton’s book shortly after your sister had been hospialised (in this case, voluntarily), because she was “dead”, and who wouldn’t eat anything because of this, until your mother convinces her that she may be dead, but the person behind her isn’t, and needs to drink. It puts a whole new perspective on the book. (I haven’t yet read through the whole book, but I read a sample of chapters several years ago, shortly after my sister was diagnosed.)

        In my sister’s case, she’s been keeping her schizophrenia under control with her meds, and hasn’t had too many problems; in this case, we’re fortunate that she isn’t homeless, or hasn’t gone violent.

        1. That’s great, but these nitwits who are arguing that psychiatry is a valid alternative to gun control need to shut the fuck up or [threats will not be tolerated – Ed]

          1. I’m directing this hate toward thoughtless republicans in particular: Just because your stupid politicians have failed to protect our rights doesn’t mean you can just randomly decide to mobilize doctors in favor of your cause. I was especially disappointed to hear Ted Nugent (one of the craziest nuts around) espousing this nonsense. Psychiatry failed a very long time ago and it won’t stop being abused until the government gets out of the medicine business.

            1. Strange. I guess it was just my mother’s imagination when she started working at a hospital where she’d done among other things a 3 month residency in the psych ward and was astonished to see a previously “hopeless” case working in a custodial or orderly sort of position.

              There’s absolutely no doubt antipsychotics can control schizophrenia and that there are a bunch of agents that can control bipolar disorder. My mother was an eyewitness to these “miracle” drugs since her education started a little before the antipsychotics were introduced during the ’50s, I’ve seen lithium carbonate’s ability to control mania in a friend. In some ways, they’re even more miraculous than antibiotics: people could recover from infections, but pretty much never spontaneously recovered from these severe mental illnesses.

                1. I’m trying to argue that the federal government should not be spying on people’s mental health records or keeping lists of patients that are angry and therefore might pose a threat to the status quo. This is about gun rights, not about pills.

                  1. I completely agree with this! The last thing we need is a “registry of the mentally ill”, for the same reasons we don’t need a gun registry. I am severely disappointed in the NRA for even proposing such a thing.

                    While we need to seriously reconsider how we treat the mentally ill, the last thing I want to see is something passed so politicians can say “We’re doing somthing!”, unless it’s a commission to re-examine the state of our care for the mentally insane. Even with the possibility of nuts shooting people up, we need to proceed very carefully.

                    And it saddens me that there are already signs that people are going after the slightly odd, because different scares them. (It’s one thing to be clearly psychotic…but eccentricities shouldn’t bring the wrath of bureaucracy down on your head, either! *Especially* when the “eccentricity” turns out to be perfectly normal.)

                    1. Depends on what he means by a “registry of the mentally ill”. Merely forcing recalcitrant states like Pennsylvania to report their involuntary commitments and adjudications (the high standard in Federal law) would help.

                      I can’t imagine he meant “going after the slightly odd”, although the Newtown shooter went way beyond that threshold … but he’s not one of those “I wasn’t at all surprised” types like the Arizona Congresswoman shooter, or the Aurora theater shooter who the university knew was a serious threat but washed their hands of when he withdrew.

                      I.e. a more “sane” if you’ll pardon the word system could well legitimately sweep up people like the last two of those shooters (the Arizona much more overtly showed signs at the college he was attending), or be more rigorous about ones like the VT shooter (state dropped the ball on seeing that he got his ordered treatment or reporting him to the NICS).

                      But we of course have to be truly rigorous here, so that don’t veer too far towards e.g. Soviet practices. But I don’t have much fear of that right now, with the usual suspects like the ACLU fighting tooth and nail in many “obvious” cases.

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