NYT 6/16: “A schizophrenic, a slain worker, troubling questions”

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?

This entry was posted in cultural & biological contexts of psychiatric disorder, schizophrenia by Constance A. Cummings. Bookmark the permalink.

About Constance A. Cummings

Constance A. Cummings, PhD, is Project Director of the non-profit Foundation for Psychocultural Research, which supports and advances interdisciplinary research and scholarship at the intersection of brain, mind, culture, and mental health and illness. She is co-editor (with Carol Worthman, Paul Plotsky, and Dan Schechter) of Formative Experiences: The Interaction of Caregiving, Culture, and Developmental Psychobiology (Cambridge University Press, 2010) and (with Laurence Kirmayer and Rob Lemelson) the forthcoming Re-Visioning Psychiatry: Cultural Phenomenology, Critical Neuroscience, and Global Mental Health (Cambridge, 2015). She received her doctorate in theoretical linguistics from New York University.

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