Serious Mental Illness Blog

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Study: Switching Schools May Give Your Kids Psychotic SymptomsBy Alice Park
Chronic marginalization and chronic exclusion could cause hallucinations and delusions
Changing schools can be a wrenching social and emotional experience for students, say researchers from Warwick Medical School in the U.K. And the legacy of that struggle may be psychosis-like symptoms of hallucinations and delusions.
Dr. Swaran Singh, a psychiatrist and head of the mental health division at Warwick, became curious about the connection between school moves and mental health issues after a study from Denmark found that children moving from rural to urban settings showed increased signs of psychoses. The authors also noted that the students had to deal with not just a change in their home environment, but in their social network of friends at school as well.
Singh was intrigued by whether school changes, and the social isolation that comes with it, might be an independent factor in contributing to the psychosis-like symptoms.
Based on their analysis, says Singh, switching schools three or more times in early childhood seemed to be linked to an up to two-fold greater risk of developing psychosis-like symptoms such as hallucinations and interrupting thoughts. “Even when we controlled for all things that school moves lead to, there was something left behind that that was independently affecting children’s mental health,” he says.
Factors such as a difficult home environment – whether caused by financial or social tension, or both – living in an urban environment, and bullying contributed to the mental health issues, but switching schools contributed independently to the psychosis-like symptoms.
Singh suspects that repeatedly being an outsider by having to re-integrate into new schools may lead to feelings of exclusion and low self-esteem. That may change a developing child’s sense of self and prime him to always feel like an outlier and never an integrated part of a social network; such repeated experiences of exclusion are known to contribute to paranoia and psychotic symptoms.
Bullying created a secondary way in which repeated school moves could lead to mental health issues — bullying is known to be associated with psychotic symptoms, and mobile students are more vulnerable to bullying,
The negative emotional experiences students go through in trying to adjust to new schools can have physiological consequences as well. “Repeated experiences of being defeated in social situations leads to changes in the brain and in the dopaminergic system,” says Singh. That makes the brain more sensitive to stress, and stress, with its surges of cortisol, can lead to unhealthy neural responses that can contribute to mental health problems. “Something about chronic marginalization, and chronic exclusion, is neurophysiologically damaging,” he says.
Singh and his team plan to continue to follow the students for several more years, to determine how frequently the psychosis-like symptoms manifest into true psychotic disorders like schizophrenia. So far, the findings don’t suggest that kids who move schools three or more times are priming themselves for future mental health problems – what the data suggest instead is that children who are more mobile early in development may need more attention and help to settle into their new environments and make strong social connections. “If we start thinking of mobile students as a potentially vulnerable group, then we can shift how we view school moves,” he says. Psychiatrists and psychologists, for example, often ask young children about their family and friends, but rarely inquire about how often they have moved schools. In his continuing investigation, Singh also hopes to dissect the reasons why students moved, to see if that can be another factor explaining the intriguing connection – if children move frequently because they are bullying others or being bullied, for example, that may suggest that the association to psychosis-like symptoms may have more to do with the students’ pre-existing behavioral state than the experience of uprooting themselves so frequently.



For more mental health news, Click Here to access the Serious Mental Illness Blog

Study: Switching Schools May Give Your Kids Psychotic Symptoms
By Alice Park

Chronic marginalization and chronic exclusion could cause hallucinations and delusions

Changing schools can be a wrenching social and emotional experience for students, say researchers from Warwick Medical School in the U.K. And the legacy of that struggle may be psychosis-like symptoms of hallucinations and delusions.

Dr. Swaran Singh, a psychiatrist and head of the mental health division at Warwick, became curious about the connection between school moves and mental health issues after a study from Denmark found that children moving from rural to urban settings showed increased signs of psychoses. The authors also noted that the students had to deal with not just a change in their home environment, but in their social network of friends at school as well.

Singh was intrigued by whether school changes, and the social isolation that comes with it, might be an independent factor in contributing to the psychosis-like symptoms.

Based on their analysis, says Singh, switching schools three or more times in early childhood seemed to be linked to an up to two-fold greater risk of developing psychosis-like symptoms such as hallucinations and interrupting thoughts. “Even when we controlled for all things that school moves lead to, there was something left behind that that was independently affecting children’s mental health,” he says.

Factors such as a difficult home environment – whether caused by financial or social tension, or both – living in an urban environment, and bullying contributed to the mental health issues, but switching schools contributed independently to the psychosis-like symptoms.

Singh suspects that repeatedly being an outsider by having to re-integrate into new schools may lead to feelings of exclusion and low self-esteem. That may change a developing child’s sense of self and prime him to always feel like an outlier and never an integrated part of a social network; such repeated experiences of exclusion are known to contribute to paranoia and psychotic symptoms.

Bullying created a secondary way in which repeated school moves could lead to mental health issues — bullying is known to be associated with psychotic symptoms, and mobile students are more vulnerable to bullying,

The negative emotional experiences students go through in trying to adjust to new schools can have physiological consequences as well. “Repeated experiences of being defeated in social situations leads to changes in the brain and in the dopaminergic system,” says Singh. That makes the brain more sensitive to stress, and stress, with its surges of cortisol, can lead to unhealthy neural responses that can contribute to mental health problems. “Something about chronic marginalization, and chronic exclusion, is neurophysiologically damaging,” he says.

Singh and his team plan to continue to follow the students for several more years, to determine how frequently the psychosis-like symptoms manifest into true psychotic disorders like schizophrenia. So far, the findings don’t suggest that kids who move schools three or more times are priming themselves for future mental health problems – what the data suggest instead is that children who are more mobile early in development may need more attention and help to settle into their new environments and make strong social connections. “If we start thinking of mobile students as a potentially vulnerable group, then we can shift how we view school moves,” he says. Psychiatrists and psychologists, for example, often ask young children about their family and friends, but rarely inquire about how often they have moved schools. In his continuing investigation, Singh also hopes to dissect the reasons why students moved, to see if that can be another factor explaining the intriguing connection – if children move frequently because they are bullying others or being bullied, for example, that may suggest that the association to psychosis-like symptoms may have more to do with the students’ pre-existing behavioral state than the experience of uprooting themselves so frequently.





For more mental health news, Click Here to access the Serious Mental Illness Blog

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Demons on the boat - an Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) Metaphor

An Acceptance & Commitment Therapy metaphor from Russ Harris’ book ‘The Happiness Trap’





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You Can Change Schizophrenia’s Name, But the Stigma Will Be the SameBy Marvin RossBill MacPhee, the publisher of SZ Magazine (formerly known as Schizophrenia Digest), has just launched a campaign to change the name of schizophrenia in order to, as he says, “stop stigma.” The name change suggestion is not new, but what is different is his proposal to change the name to MacPhee Syndrome.
Mr. MacPhee argues, “When people hear the word ‘schizophrenia’ they think the worst. They research the word and find the media reference people like James Holmes the Colorado movie shooter or John Hinckley who shot president Reagan.” He goes on to say that when people think of schizophrenia, they never think of someone like him. Mr. MacPhee does have schizophrenia, but he is also the publisher of Magpie Media in Fort Erie, Ont., and a man with a wife and three kids.
His campaign is using crowd source funding to try to raise $75,000 towards a North American tour kicking off April 2 in his home town of Fort Erie, petitioning The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and launching a letter writing campaign to encourage them to change the name in their next revision.
The name for schizophrenia was already changed in Japan in 2002. According to a description of that name change process in World Psychiatry, the old name Seishin Bunretsu Byo (“mind-split-disease”) was replaced with Togo Shitcho Sho (“integration disorder”). Before that change, only 7% of doctors always told their patients diagnosed with schizophrenia that they had the disorder, while 37% only told the families and not the patients. Japan had a long history of negative attitudes towards schizophrenia and inhumane treatment to those suffering from it. Prior to 1950, schizophrenia patients in Japan were incarcerated with restraints, so it was understandable that doctors were reluctant to provide that diagnosis. After the change of name in 2004, almost 70% of patients were told their diagnosis.
I haven’t been able to find any data on how well those with schizophrenia are doing in Japan as a result, although the treatment guidelines developed for the new name now recommend community-based care instead of hospitalization; a treatment plan including medication and psychosocial intervention; and therapeutic alliances with other professionals.
It would be interesting to know if as many Japanese with schizophrenia wind up untreated, homeless and in prison as is the case in North America. Our system, as a Toronto Star article on the mentally ill in jail noted, is considered medieval by experts. Criminal defence lawyer Frank Addario is quoted as saying, “It’s like putting you in jail for having cancer.”
In the Western Hemisphere, the term salience syndrome has been suggested as an alternative to the term schizophrenia. “Salience refers to how internal and external stimuli are consciously experienced and how, unwilled or overinclusive attention to some stimuli can become perplexing and foster a search for explanations which are later recognized as delusional” according to a 2013 published research study that attempted to see if changing schizophrenia to salience syndrome would in fact make any difference.
The study found that it would not!
One part of this study involved 161 undergraduate students at the University of Montreal. Students were told of another student called Nathan who had become withdrawn, was missing classes, looked dishevelled and was becoming paranoid. Half were told that he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and half that he was diagnosed with salience syndrome.They were then asked to respond to the following five questions using a five-point scale, ranging from very unlikely to very likely:1. Do you think that this would damage Nathan’s career?2. I would be comfortable if Nathan was my colleague at work?3. I would be comfortable about inviting Nathan to a dinner party?4. How likely do you think it would be for Nathan’s girlfriend to leave him?5. How likely do you think it would be for Nathan to get in trouble with the law?Students showed no significant differences in their response to these questions regardless of being told the diagnosis was schizophrenia or salience syndrome.
A second study was done with 19 patients in a first episode psychosis clinic and the researchers found that “the majority of participants preferred a diagnosis of salience syndrome, considering it less stigmatizing mostly because of its novelty and the concealing potential of the new diagnostic entity, though many found it hard to relate to and somewhat difficult to understand.”
As Gertrude Stein said, “a rose is a rose is a rose.” Changing the name will not reduce what is.
Mr. MacPhee is to be commended for his efforts to bring awareness to these issues, but stigma exists because we are focusing on the wrong things; that is why I wondered above if many in Japan are still untreated.
That, in my opinion, is the main reason for stigma. The image that the public has of those with schizophrenia is of violent, potential killers and dishevelled homeless people wandering the streets. That is who they see in public and in the news, so it is no wonder that the response is to shun all. Those who are treated are invisible because they are mostly just like us.
Mr. MacPhee and I have both been on the board of the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario, I sometimes contribute freelance articles for his magazine, and I’ve sat and had coffee with him. Most people would not give him a second glance if they passed him on the street, nor would they fear having a coffee with him. He would not be capable of all that he has achieved if he was not getting treatment. And that goes for many people with schizophrenia.
Elyn Saks is a Professor of Law, Psychology, and Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences at the University of Southern California Gould Law School and she has schizophrenia. Dr. Fred Frese is associate professor of psychiatry at Northeast Ohio Medical University; clinical assistant professor at Case Western Reserve University; and coordinator of the Summit County Recovery Project. He also has schizophrenia. Dr. Carolyn Dobbins has been a practising psychotherapist for over 25 years and suffers with schizoaffective disorder.
The key to the success of these people and all who are doing well is proper treatment and that is what we fail to provide as well as we should as a society. Dr. Julio Arboleda-Florez of Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario wrote in an editorial in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry in November 2003 that “helping persons with mental illness to limit the possibilities that they may become violent, via proper and timely treatment and management of their symptoms and preventing social situations that might lead to contextual violence, could be the single most important way to combat the stigma that affects all those with mental illness.”
It is truly mind boggling that we, as a society, care so little for the suffering of those with serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia that we continue to fail to provide them with proper treatment. We ourselves stigmatize and shun those who we refuse to provide with the treatment that would relieve them of their suffering. And so, if Mr. MacPhee can help emphasize that in his campaign, then I wish him well.



For more mental health news, Click Here to access the Serious Mental Illness Blog

You Can Change Schizophrenia’s Name, But the Stigma Will Be the Same
By Marvin Ross

Bill MacPhee, the publisher of SZ Magazine (formerly known as Schizophrenia Digest), has just launched a campaign to change the name of schizophrenia in order to, as he says, “stop stigma.” The name change suggestion is not new, but what is different is his proposal to change the name to MacPhee Syndrome.

Mr. MacPhee argues, “When people hear the word ‘schizophrenia’ they think the worst. They research the word and find the media reference people like James Holmes the Colorado movie shooter or John Hinckley who shot president Reagan.” He goes on to say that when people think of schizophrenia, they never think of someone like him. Mr. MacPhee does have schizophrenia, but he is also the publisher of Magpie Media in Fort Erie, Ont., and a man with a wife and three kids.

His campaign is using crowd source funding to try to raise $75,000 towards a North American tour kicking off April 2 in his home town of Fort Erie, petitioning The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and launching a letter writing campaign to encourage them to change the name in their next revision.

The name for schizophrenia was already changed in Japan in 2002. According to a description of that name change process in World Psychiatry, the old name Seishin Bunretsu Byo (“mind-split-disease”) was replaced with Togo Shitcho Sho (“integration disorder”). Before that change, only 7% of doctors always told their patients diagnosed with schizophrenia that they had the disorder, while 37% only told the families and not the patients. Japan had a long history of negative attitudes towards schizophrenia and inhumane treatment to those suffering from it. Prior to 1950, schizophrenia patients in Japan were incarcerated with restraints, so it was understandable that doctors were reluctant to provide that diagnosis. After the change of name in 2004, almost 70% of patients were told their diagnosis.

I haven’t been able to find any data on how well those with schizophrenia are doing in Japan as a result, although the treatment guidelines developed for the new name now recommend community-based care instead of hospitalization; a treatment plan including medication and psychosocial intervention; and therapeutic alliances with other professionals.

It would be interesting to know if as many Japanese with schizophrenia wind up untreated, homeless and in prison as is the case in North America. Our system, as a Toronto Star article on the mentally ill in jail noted, is considered medieval by experts. Criminal defence lawyer Frank Addario is quoted as saying, “It’s like putting you in jail for having cancer.”

In the Western Hemisphere, the term salience syndrome has been suggested as an alternative to the term schizophrenia. “Salience refers to how internal and external stimuli are consciously experienced and how, unwilled or overinclusive attention to some stimuli can become perplexing and foster a search for explanations which are later recognized as delusional” according to a 2013 published research study that attempted to see if changing schizophrenia to salience syndrome would in fact make any difference.

The study found that it would not!

One part of this study involved 161 undergraduate students at the University of Montreal. Students were told of another student called Nathan who had become withdrawn, was missing classes, looked dishevelled and was becoming paranoid. Half were told that he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and half that he was diagnosed with salience syndrome.

They were then asked to respond to the following five questions using a five-point scale, ranging from very unlikely to very likely:

1. Do you think that this would damage Nathan’s career?
2. I would be comfortable if Nathan was my colleague at work?
3. I would be comfortable about inviting Nathan to a dinner party?
4. How likely do you think it would be for Nathan’s girlfriend to leave him?
5. How likely do you think it would be for Nathan to get in trouble with the law?

Students showed no significant differences in their response to these questions regardless of being told the diagnosis was schizophrenia or salience syndrome.

A second study was done with 19 patients in a first episode psychosis clinic and the researchers found that “the majority of participants preferred a diagnosis of salience syndrome, considering it less stigmatizing mostly because of its novelty and the concealing potential of the new diagnostic entity, though many found it hard to relate to and somewhat difficult to understand.”

As Gertrude Stein said, “a rose is a rose is a rose.” Changing the name will not reduce what is.

Mr. MacPhee is to be commended for his efforts to bring awareness to these issues, but stigma exists because we are focusing on the wrong things; that is why I wondered above if many in Japan are still untreated.

That, in my opinion, is the main reason for stigma. The image that the public has of those with schizophrenia is of violent, potential killers and dishevelled homeless people wandering the streets. That is who they see in public and in the news, so it is no wonder that the response is to shun all. Those who are treated are invisible because they are mostly just like us.

Mr. MacPhee and I have both been on the board of the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario, I sometimes contribute freelance articles for his magazine, and I’ve sat and had coffee with him. Most people would not give him a second glance if they passed him on the street, nor would they fear having a coffee with him. He would not be capable of all that he has achieved if he was not getting treatment. And that goes for many people with schizophrenia.

Elyn Saks is a Professor of Law, Psychology, and Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences at the University of Southern California Gould Law School and she has schizophrenia. Dr. Fred Frese is associate professor of psychiatry at Northeast Ohio Medical University; clinical assistant professor at Case Western Reserve University; and coordinator of the Summit County Recovery Project. He also has schizophrenia. Dr. Carolyn Dobbins has been a practising psychotherapist for over 25 years and suffers with schizoaffective disorder.

The key to the success of these people and all who are doing well is proper treatment and that is what we fail to provide as well as we should as a society. Dr. Julio Arboleda-Florez of Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario wrote in an editorial in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry in November 2003 that “helping persons with mental illness to limit the possibilities that they may become violent, via proper and timely treatment and management of their symptoms and preventing social situations that might lead to contextual violence, could be the single most important way to combat the stigma that affects all those with mental illness.”

It is truly mind boggling that we, as a society, care so little for the suffering of those with serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia that we continue to fail to provide them with proper treatment. We ourselves stigmatize and shun those who we refuse to provide with the treatment that would relieve them of their suffering. And so, if Mr. MacPhee can help emphasize that in his campaign, then I wish him well.





For more mental health news, Click Here to access the Serious Mental Illness Blog

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Let’s Take Mental Illness Out of the ShadowsBy Millicent Monks, AuthorI’ve read several good articles about mental illness in our local newspaper here in my small town in Maine. The headline of the last article I read was, Mentally Ill Wait Too Long. The article stated, “More than 500 Mainers are on the waiting list for the most basic mental health services, with an average wait of two months and sometimes waiting nearly a year.” I read that sentence and immediately had a sense of despair and disbelief. How can this be?
Mental illness can be as destructive and fatal as serious physical illnesses, but mental illnesses do not get the same level of attention and care. Mental illness often places a terrible burden and a huge impact on families. Often there is a societal perception that mothers are somehow responsible. On top of this serious emotional strain for a family caring for a child with mental illness, there is the added strain of waiting two months or up to a year to get the help they need. Mental illness is not given the attention that it needs. The situation is so dire I often think someone should sue the Department of Health and Human Services, if only to bring some attention to how desperately help is needed.
Two psychiatric doctors recently wrote a letter to The New York Times quite eloquently about the state of care for the mentally ill in this country. It was in response to an article The New York Times ran titled, “When It Comes to Mental Health Coverage, a Long Line of Patients Is Still Waiting.” Their letter, which you can read here, gets it right. Every child needs access to the right treatment at the right time.
What physical ailment takes a year to be taken care of? How do those who are mentally ill and need help survive a year? How does a family or a mother with a seriously ill child survive a year’s wait? This is exactly what we are asking those struggling with a mentally ill child to do, and it is unacceptable.
I remember some 50 or so years ago when my husband and I became involved with mental illness in our state. We were struggling to bring mental illness into the 20th century in Maine. There was a lady from the northern part of the state whose husband had left her with a very dangerous and mentally ill son in his teens. She came to all our meetings. She was struggling to stay financially solvent. She was simply overwhelmed. She was in her mid-30s, and our group tried to help. One day after a meeting, we learned that she died suddenly. It was a terribly sad situation.
Today, in my older age, I want to pass on advice to mothers with seriously mentally ill children:You are not alone.We need advocacy, not shame.We should support one another.Sharing your stories with other mothers can be helpful to you and to them.We should all search for answers.We should give voice to mental illness so we can shed light on the impact of mental illness in our society and find resources to help us.We can empower other mothers by sharing our stories.We need to learn our rights.We need to ask questions and demand answers.Sometimes I dream about mothers of mentally ill children gathering together in small groups and then those groups grow in numbers and turn into bigger groups. I dream that we can change what I call the shadow of mental illness and bring light to such an important issue, impacting so many families. I don’t want mental illness to be the forgotten illness. I don’t want mothers to feel alone. I want mothers to speak up and become empowered.
I wish there were simple answers, but there aren’t. Together we can find solutions. Perhaps if mothers can speak out and share with each other, we can form powerful groups of healing and mental illness could take a new step forward toward awareness and progress. If we join together for change, we can take mental illness out of the shadows.



For more mental health news, Click Here to access the Serious Mental Illness Blog

Let’s Take Mental Illness Out of the Shadows
By Millicent Monks, Author

I’ve read several good articles about mental illness in our local newspaper here in my small town in Maine. The headline of the last article I read was, Mentally Ill Wait Too Long. The article stated, “More than 500 Mainers are on the waiting list for the most basic mental health services, with an average wait of two months and sometimes waiting nearly a year.” I read that sentence and immediately had a sense of despair and disbelief. How can this be?

Mental illness can be as destructive and fatal as serious physical illnesses, but mental illnesses do not get the same level of attention and care. Mental illness often places a terrible burden and a huge impact on families. Often there is a societal perception that mothers are somehow responsible. On top of this serious emotional strain for a family caring for a child with mental illness, there is the added strain of waiting two months or up to a year to get the help they need. Mental illness is not given the attention that it needs. The situation is so dire I often think someone should sue the Department of Health and Human Services, if only to bring some attention to how desperately help is needed.

Two psychiatric doctors recently wrote a letter to The New York Times quite eloquently about the state of care for the mentally ill in this country. It was in response to an article The New York Times ran titled, “When It Comes to Mental Health Coverage, a Long Line of Patients Is Still Waiting.” Their letter, which you can read here, gets it right. Every child needs access to the right treatment at the right time.

What physical ailment takes a year to be taken care of? How do those who are mentally ill and need help survive a year? How does a family or a mother with a seriously ill child survive a year’s wait? This is exactly what we are asking those struggling with a mentally ill child to do, and it is unacceptable.

I remember some 50 or so years ago when my husband and I became involved with mental illness in our state. We were struggling to bring mental illness into the 20th century in Maine. There was a lady from the northern part of the state whose husband had left her with a very dangerous and mentally ill son in his teens. She came to all our meetings. She was struggling to stay financially solvent. She was simply overwhelmed. She was in her mid-30s, and our group tried to help. One day after a meeting, we learned that she died suddenly. It was a terribly sad situation.

Today, in my older age, I want to pass on advice to mothers with seriously mentally ill children:

You are not alone.
We need advocacy, not shame.
We should support one another.
Sharing your stories with other mothers can be helpful to you and to them.
We should all search for answers.
We should give voice to mental illness so we can shed light on the impact of mental illness in our society and find resources to help us.
We can empower other mothers by sharing our stories.
We need to learn our rights.
We need to ask questions and demand answers.

Sometimes I dream about mothers of mentally ill children gathering together in small groups and then those groups grow in numbers and turn into bigger groups. I dream that we can change what I call the shadow of mental illness and bring light to such an important issue, impacting so many families. I don’t want mental illness to be the forgotten illness. I don’t want mothers to feel alone. I want mothers to speak up and become empowered.

I wish there were simple answers, but there aren’t. Together we can find solutions. Perhaps if mothers can speak out and share with each other, we can form powerful groups of healing and mental illness could take a new step forward toward awareness and progress. If we join together for change, we can take mental illness out of the shadows.





For more mental health news, Click Here to access the Serious Mental Illness Blog

Filed under serious mental illness smi knafo mental illness health mental illness mental health news new research millicent monks author maine despair physical mind brain body family families society culture usa us united states america psychiatry psychiatrist psychology

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Severe mental illness: How Virginia’s system fails and a mother’s griefBy Wanda Yvonne Parks February 9, 2014Watch full video HERE 
I am Jason Daniel Tully’s mother. He passed away on April 25, 2013, at the age of 25, in a jail isolation cell. I have waited this long to respond because an autopsy had to be done. It showed he suffered from schizoaffective disorder and a heart condition. I have no ill feelings towards the Hampton City Jail for their efforts to save my young son’s life. He suffered tremendously with severe mental illness for numerous years.
My son passed away in an isolation jail cell three days after being discharged from a local hospital. He was discharged from Maryview Hospital in Portsmouth after I insisted with his treating psychiatrist that he was not ready to be released. Instead, he was sent home by a cab. One hour later, the police placed him in jail after a psychotic episode.
Jason Daniel was the light of my world, very special and full of kindness. I am a former social worker. My passion has always been and always will be to help those with mental illness.
My sincere sympathyand prayers extend to state Sen. Creigh Deeds about his personal tragedy and loss of his son, Austin. I am sure that Sen. Deeds is facing a difficult time of pain and loss.
I am still unable to explain what it is like to watch your child develop a mental illness. Often, they are denied the help needed. My son was brilliant, kind and had a successful future ahead of him, but he could not beat his illness. Jason Daniel could never, ever accept that his functioning level had decreased so desperately. He said, “My dreams are gone.”
Jason Daniel served a nearly one-year sentence in jail from approximately March 2012 until Feb. 26, 2013. On Feb. 26, he was released from Hampton Roads Regional Jail with bleeding sores in his feet, deep wounds in his legs, a tremendous loss of weight, broken tooth, deep beard and a scar and dent on his forehead. He was so ill that he could barely walk. He went to Riverside Behavioral Health Center where he was denied treatment.
I explained to the Hampton Court that Jason Daniel would need community support services if released. If a mentally ill person is in a hospital for an extensive period of time, or in jail, their disability income (if they have any) is suspended and it takes someone to help them get it reinstated, which can take time.
Otherwise, they are homeless. As the Hampton Roads Regional Jail informed me, “nine times out of 10, the mentally ill are put out on the streets.”
I am trying to get my son’s records. I have contacted Eastern State Hospital (the state psychiatric facility in James City County) where my son was for a short time while incarcerated. I was told, “since he is deceased you cannot get his records.” The Hampton Roads Regional Jail told me I would have to go to court and “then you would be beating your head against a brick wall.” The jail also told me that “isolation can be done indefinitely.” Jason Daniel had a severe mental illness but he had an incredible heart and was always honest. He told me, “Mom, I was put in isolation for a very long time. Bad memories mom. Very bad memories.”
I am speaking from both professional and personal experience. Often one can ask for help and crisis intervention; however an ECO (emergency custody order) or TDO (temporary detention order) is many times not approved because someone does not meet “imminent” criteria for inability to care for self or a danger to self or others. Hospitalization is then not provided. Or, if it is, the patient is often released from the short-term hospital before they are stable. So many times, jail is the outcome. Isolation there with the mentally ill is often done.
Many times I sought fervently for hospitalization for my son and my patients. Not just short-term psychiatric facilities, but especially long-term, such as Eastern State. It was denied when my son pleaded for help.
Although there is proposed legislation for funding for the mental health system, I am deeply concerned that some necessary services will not be met. For example, housing for the mentally ill is a serious problem.
My intentions are not aimed at those who serve the severely mentally ill in jail. My question is why do those who suffer from such a serious mental illness have to be sent to such a dark and lonely place of isolation, without social interaction and activities? Why are the mentally ill released, alone, without sufficient support? Our mental health system has truly failed.


For more mental health news, Click Here to access the Serious Mental Illness Blog

Severe mental illness: How Virginia’s system fails and a mother’s grief
By Wanda Yvonne Parks
February 9, 2014

Watch full video HERE 

I am Jason Daniel Tully’s mother. He passed away on April 25, 2013, at the age of 25, in a jail isolation cell. I have waited this long to respond because an autopsy had to be done. It showed he suffered from schizoaffective disorder and a heart condition. I have no ill feelings towards the Hampton City Jail for their efforts to save my young son’s life. He suffered tremendously with severe mental illness for numerous years.

My son passed away in an isolation jail cell three days after being discharged from a local hospital. He was discharged from Maryview Hospital in Portsmouth after I insisted with his treating psychiatrist that he was not ready to be released. Instead, he was sent home by a cab. One hour later, the police placed him in jail after a psychotic episode.

Jason Daniel was the light of my world, very special and full of kindness. I am a former social worker. My passion has always been and always will be to help those with mental illness.

My sincere sympathyand prayers extend to state Sen. Creigh Deeds about his personal tragedy and loss of his son, Austin. I am sure that Sen. Deeds is facing a difficult time of pain and loss.

I am still unable to explain what it is like to watch your child develop a mental illness. Often, they are denied the help needed. My son was brilliant, kind and had a successful future ahead of him, but he could not beat his illness. Jason Daniel could never, ever accept that his functioning level had decreased so desperately. He said, “My dreams are gone.”

Jason Daniel served a nearly one-year sentence in jail from approximately March 2012 until Feb. 26, 2013. On Feb. 26, he was released from Hampton Roads Regional Jail with bleeding sores in his feet, deep wounds in his legs, a tremendous loss of weight, broken tooth, deep beard and a scar and dent on his forehead. He was so ill that he could barely walk. He went to Riverside Behavioral Health Center where he was denied treatment.

I explained to the Hampton Court that Jason Daniel would need community support services if released. If a mentally ill person is in a hospital for an extensive period of time, or in jail, their disability income (if they have any) is suspended and it takes someone to help them get it reinstated, which can take time.

Otherwise, they are homeless. As the Hampton Roads Regional Jail informed me, “nine times out of 10, the mentally ill are put out on the streets.”

I am trying to get my son’s records. I have contacted Eastern State Hospital (the state psychiatric facility in James City County) where my son was for a short time while incarcerated. I was told, “since he is deceased you cannot get his records.” The Hampton Roads Regional Jail told me I would have to go to court and “then you would be beating your head against a brick wall.” The jail also told me that “isolation can be done indefinitely.” Jason Daniel had a severe mental illness but he had an incredible heart and was always honest. He told me, “Mom, I was put in isolation for a very long time. Bad memories mom. Very bad memories.”

I am speaking from both professional and personal experience. Often one can ask for help and crisis intervention; however an ECO (emergency custody order) or TDO (temporary detention order) is many times not approved because someone does not meet “imminent” criteria for inability to care for self or a danger to self or others. Hospitalization is then not provided. Or, if it is, the patient is often released from the short-term hospital before they are stable. So many times, jail is the outcome. Isolation there with the mentally ill is often done.

Many times I sought fervently for hospitalization for my son and my patients. Not just short-term psychiatric facilities, but especially long-term, such as Eastern State. It was denied when my son pleaded for help.

Although there is proposed legislation for funding for the mental health system, I am deeply concerned that some necessary services will not be met. For example, housing for the mentally ill is a serious problem.

My intentions are not aimed at those who serve the severely mentally ill in jail. My question is why do those who suffer from such a serious mental illness have to be sent to such a dark and lonely place of isolation, without social interaction and activities? Why are the mentally ill released, alone, without sufficient support? Our mental health system has truly failed.



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(Source: dailypress.com)

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