Recent NYT article (“A schizophrenic, a slain worker, troubling questions”) underscores the need for systems of care: “If we don’t get funding, we’re either on the street, in prison, dead or rather be dead.”
Comment (links added) by Mark Zanger, Boston, MA (June 18, 2011):
A brilliant article with an unfortunate headline. We try to describe people with illness as “person with” rather have them a walking label: a schizophrenic, a cancerous, a diabetic, an autistic. Rather we can say, a person with schizophrenia, or a man with cancer, or a woman with diabetes, or a child with an autism disorder. This reminds us that people with issues, even alleged murderers, are people first and dealing with illness from a position of person-hood. An issue that might have been explored in the article is the right to refuse treatment versus measures of civil commitment used on persons with paranoid schizophrenia and a history of violence, such as “Kendra’s Law” in New York. Massachusetts does not have a measure of this kind, and is unlikely to pass one even in the wake of this horrible and not entirely isolated incident. The New Yorker has just run a very moving article on the price of “right to refuse” for one woman with schizophrenia; the New York Review of Books is in the middle of a two-part review of three books questioning the validity of existing medical treatment for mental illness. Let’s not leave civil commitment to the Post or the Wall Street Journal, eh?