No One Cares About Crazy People is not and was not meant to be an easy read.
It is the story of one family’s struggle with schizophrenia as well as a wider history of mental health care in western culture.
Millions of Americans live with one or more mental health challenges. Unfortunately, mental healthcare in America just hasn’t kept pace with need. Good portions of our homeless and prison populations are made up of people in dire need of mental health care. 13% of Americans take some form of antidepressant medication. Americans are killing themselves at alarming rates.
No one is safe from the ravages of mental illness. It would be rare indeed to find a family that could honestly claim they are untouched by some form of sorrow stemming from mental illness. Yet where is the outrage, the resources and most importantly, the beds?
More and more prisons act as inpatient mental health facilities. I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence but I did. Can you imagine how difficult a life that must be? Everything about prison is guaranteed to make most forms of mental illness worse. The noise, the overcrowding, the violence.
Deinstitutionalization in America, moving people out of asylums and into outpatient community mental health care programs, began with good intentions and has ended in incomprehensible misery for some of our most vulnerable citizens. This resource is a good place to start.
Mentally ill and homeless veterans make up the most heartbreaking component of our populace. They ruined their health, often both mental and physical, for what turned out to be an ungrateful nation. There are many groups that exist for the sole purpose of supporting veterans. Starting in 2014 the US government finally began to deal with the shameful wait times veterans face when dealing with the VA. For every American veteran facing debilitating mental illness challenges, we can do better. Detangling the links between homelessness, mental illness and incarceration seems to be an excellent place to start.
No One Cares ABout Crazy People covers these facts and so many more. The personal story of this family’s struggle and loss intersperses a readable and yet often scholarly review of where we as a nation have been and where we are going when it comes to mental health care.
https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ 1(800) 273-8255