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Letter to the Editor: Mental Health

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This post is one that is very personal to me, in that I am posting a letter I wrote to the editor of the Warren Times-Observer in response to this linked article I had read on their site.

The letter is one that tries to shine a positive light on the mental health community, while also touching on a prominent myth about people with mental health issues. I also share a story about a personal encounter I had while shopping to help show how the myth impacts the mental health community.

Peace be with all who read my letter!

Jenn

“Trump’s Call for Mental Institutions Could Be Good: Bringing back asylums isn’t actually the worst idea.”

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This article discusses reasons not only why re-opening asylums could be good, but includes some of the history behind those that have been downsized or closed.   The article appropriately points out that even though opening asylums could be good, it would likely do nothing to prevent mass shootings or other forms of violence and points to the access to guns as being the issue that is feeding gun violence.

“Mentally ill inmates overwhelm PA jails”

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This April 11, 2017 segment of Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane talks about mental health services for those with mental illnesses who have been incarcerated in Pennsylvania.

“In this hour, Marty talks with FRED OSHER, director of health systems and services policy at the Council of State Governments Justice Center about Stepping Up and its objectives. JOHN WETZEL, Pennsylvania Secretary of Corrections, joins the discussion to address the potential impact of this plan on PA state prisons. BRUCE HERDMAN, chief medical director for the Philadelphia Department of Prisons, discusses the care needed for these inmates”[1]

“Human Trafficking Awareness for Mental Health Professionals”

Training Link

This training was presented by the National Human Trafficking Resource Center in September 2016 and is available free of charge.  It offers information for Mental Health Professionals on how to respond if they meet someone who is a victim of human trafficking.

The National Human Trafficking Resource Center operates a national hotline that anyone in The United States can call if they know or even suspect someone is a victim of human trafficking.

The National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline
is a toll-free call anywhere in the United States

1-888-373-7888

“How Gaps In Mental Health Care Play Out In Emergency Rooms”

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This October 17, 2016 article by Shefali Luthra, talks about the differencees in going to the Emergency Room for Physical health reasons compared to mental health reasons and indicates that a person with a mental health issue is likely to stay in the ER longer or more likely to be admitted to the hospital directly from the ER than someone with physical health issues is.

“Mentally ill on hold without treatment: Norristown State Hospital lacks rooms for defendants deemed incompetent for trial”

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This July 15, 2016 article by Kaitlyn Foti found on the Mainline Media News website talks about the extremely long waiting list for beds at Torrance State Hospital and Norristown State Hospital Forensic Units.  The article talks about the impact not only to the person who is on the waiting list, but also their family, the flow of inmates through jails, and the financial impact faced by having to hold someone in jail who is on a waiting list for treatment.

“Faulty assumptions behind persistent racial/ethnic disparities in behavioral health care”

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This June 9, 2016 article found on the Medical Xpress website talks about some of the assumptions made regarding minorities and behavioral health treatment and explains some of the things that could be done to improve the situation so that minorities receive equal care comparable to what is received by other populations.

“Take This: Where Gaming Meets Mental Health”

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This June 10, 2016 by Chloi Rad on the IGN website, talks about efforts being made to raise awareness of mental health issues to gamers.  One effort includes working on providing an “AFK Room” (for the non-gamers AFK means “Away From Keyboard” and is often used by gamers when they need to step away from their console or computer briefly or to explain a lack of response to someone who didn’t know they wandered away from their computer or console)  In the case of the AFK Rooms, the article indicates that they are meant to be a quiet place staffed by clinicians where attendees at some of the gaming conferences can step away from the noise and chaos they are experiencing.  These rooms have been known to help people who were suicidal, as well as those who are having anxiety issues.   Take This wants to remind gamers that they are not exempt from ever being in need of mental health support, and want to decrease the stigma among gamers towards those who do need support.

I think I would sum this up as simply saying it is an example of gamers helping gamers since the AFK rooms were created by a well-known game company.

“Hawaii looks to allow psychologists to prescribe drugs”

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This April 28, 2016 AP article found on the Herald-Standard website talks about Hawaii’s interest in having Psychologists be able to prescribe medications to their clients.  This is something already done in the military, and in a few other states. It is hoped that this change could improve access to care, and maybe also help Hawaii decrease their suicide rate which according to the article is higher than the rate that people die from car accidents in Hawaii.

“Stretching psychiatric care in rural Pennsylvania”

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This February 25, 2016 article on the News works website talks about the immense struggle that rural areas face when trying to meet the demand for mental health services, particularly access to Psychiatrists, in Pennsylvania.  The article estimates that there are about 10 Psychiatrists for every 100,000 people in Pennsylvania and points out that many of the existing Psychiatrists seem to cluster around the larger cities leaving folks in rural areas where the need tends to be greater with fewer

English: This photo describes a rural area

English: This photo describes a rural area (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

professionals to serve those with mental health issues.

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