April 15, 2014
The Post and Courier has written an extensive article on the state of mental health in South Carolina and throughout the US. The article follows the story of a man named Glen Yerkey who has bipolar, and is struggling to find work and to escape his criminal record. The article explains how the prisons in the US have become the new mental asylums in our country. A number of other experts and advocates weigh in on the article, including Rehinge’s Paton Blough. Comprehensive mental health reform is needed in the US, especially our corrections systems.
At 19, Glen Yerkey notched his first arrest, an act that branded him a criminal. Today, his rap sheet of thefts and petty crimes is so long, his stays behind bars so many, that he sees no meaningful future. New Balance Homme Yerkey is 26. chaussures new balance He can’t find a job or a place to live. With few options, he wonders how he can escape a life of crime. “I can’t stand it,” Yerkey, who’s living with his mother on James Island, said. “I’m disgusted with my situation.” Yerkey contends his problems, in large part, are rooted in his struggles with bipolar disorder. new balance pas cher For years, he has suffered manic highs (like the time he took an MUSC hospital bus on a joy ride) and severe lows (which he medicated with alcohol and illegal drugs). But like tens of thousands of mentally ill people across the nation, Yerkey’s troubles are often more apt to land him in a jail cell than in treatment. new balance 2018 Prisons and jails have become the new asylums for those who once might have ended up in psychiatric hospitals or other care, experts say. “There is a clear consensus that prisons are now the largest mental hospitals,” said Dr. Harold Morgan, a long-time forensic psychiatrist in Columbia who examined seriously ill inmates to take part in the recent class-action lawsuit against the state Department of Corrections. About 40 percent of people with serious mental illnesses today have been in jail or prison at some point, studies show. In South Carolina, at least five times more are in jails and prisons than in hospitals, a 2010 study by the nonprofit Advocacy Treatment Center and the National Sheriffs’ Association found. new balance pas cher 2018 Only three states – Nevada, Arizona and Texas – had higher rates. And when the advocacy center’s researchers released a new report about the problem last week, what did they have to say about South Carolina? “The state ranks near the bottom on availability of public psychiatric beds, efforts to divert mentally ill individuals, per capita state mental health expenditures, and almost every other measure of treatment for mentally ill individuals.”
Blough, who has bipolar disorder, spent one-third of his life from 2005 to 2008 behind bars or in psychiatric hospitals. new balance 2018 pas cher He’s seen the criminal justice system become the frontline of mental health care. He was arrested six times. Three times it went badly. Three times it went well. “The difference wasn’t me. I was fully manic in all six. The difference was the officers who dealt with me,” said Blough, now a married father in recovery. During one arrest, he spit on a detention officer. Another time he yelled threats against a local sheriff’s deputy. Both led to felony charges. Today, he deals with what he deems PTSD from being jolted with a stun gun, strapped to chairs, pepper sprayed and locked in isolation. He also gained a record of felonies. He blames a lack of hospital beds for those who need it. “Instead, it’s jail,” he said. “We criminalize the mentally ill.” Now, he’s an advocate and speaks to law enforcement groups and lawmakers. Blough didn’t set out to commit crimes. He believed he was waging nuclear war with China and that former President Bush was obeying his signals from a jail cell. He was trying to save the world. “It felt as real as the sky is blue,” Blough said. “It’s all from a mental health basis. It’s not a behavioral issue.