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What went wrong?

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by -Ken, Nov 27, 2002.

  1. -Ken

    -Ken Guest

    Here's a sad story about a guy that
    everybody knew was on the edge.

    One day he went over the edge and
    shot three people and then himself.

    Why wasn't he provided help before he lost it?

    Is our society so twisted that this man could drive himself to
    insanity over improving his stature at work?

    Do we allow this type of meltdown to happen even though it's

    What are we doing wrong? Not accepting mental health as serious?
    Not giving a flying hoot? What do we do to never allow this to happen again?
  2. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    Edited after waking up and reading the original post more carefully. My apologies for being way off topic.
  3. dainbramage

    dainbramage Land Of The Lost

    As a member of being in the category of "mentally ill". I will tell you that sometimes it is so hard to find the right therapist and psychiatrist.
    Back in the '70's someone figured that most of the people in mental institutions didn't need to be there, that they would be able to become functioning citizen's. Welcome to today's homeless and yesterday's. The ACLU doesn't help either. Most of the people who are "mentally ill" instead of calling them "insane" are harmless, the few are the ones that need to be locked up, but their families and the courts and etc. etc. etc. it just gets totally fucked.
    Sometimes these peopel find someone who really helps, but that number is so low as to be laughable. And there are people who are in the mental health field who should be kicked out because they are terrible at helping.
  4. Misu

    Misu Hey, I saw that.

    He didn't get help because he refused it. You can't force someone to get help. You can't kick someone out of school because you think they can't handle the pressures of school. You cannot control how a person feels regarding death if they liken that to not getting a particular degree.

    We as a society are not to blame for the strain on this man's marriage - he and his wife are. They were the two parties involved in it, not society as a whole.

    As far as not giving a flying hoot - I personally do care, but again, if I try to help someone (which I have, many times) and they refuse my help, what can I do? What can you do? What can any of us do? You can take the horse to the river, but you can't make him drink. And that's gospel.

    My brother and I have an extremely strained relationship. He is currently living in Kentucky in a government facility for troubled young adults - his troubles aren't mental, they're drugs and alcohol. I would venture to say my brother is O.D.D:

    <small>ODD is a psychiatric disorder that is characterized by two different sets of problems. These are aggressiveness and a tendency to purposefully bother and irritate others. It is often the reason that people seek treatment. When ODD is present with ADHD, depression, tourette's, anxiety disorders, or other neuropsychiatric disorders, it makes life with that child far more difficult. For Example, ADHD plus ODD is much worse than ADHD alone, often enough to make people seek treatment. The criteria for ODD are:

    A pattern of negativistic, hostile, and defiant behavior lasting at least six months during which four or more of the following are present:

    1. Often loses temper
    2. often argues with adults
    3. often actively defies or refuses to comply with adults' requests or rules
    4. often deliberately annoys people
    5. often blames others for his or her mistakes or misbehavior
    6. is often touchy or easily annoyed by others
    7. is often angry and resentful
    8. is often spiteful and vindictive</small>

    My brother his every single one of those symptoms, and he was classified as having ADD (before they new what ADHD was) when he was 7.

    There is treatment for this disorder, which includes meds and therapy. My family was unable to make him go to treatment - the law pretty much did, though. And now he's receiving extremely powerful meds where he's at and therapy something like 3 times a week. And it's doing him good. But he waited until he was 23 to get the help he needed.

    I went through a lot with my brother - I went through mental and physical abuse at his hands. All because of drugs and alcohol and his inability to see he needed help. No matter what I did, nothing got him to get the help he needed. For a long time, I felt like I had failed my family because I couldn't help him - same as my dad. I could not help him with his addictions, either. Am I to continue punishing myself because my brother and father chose the paths they did? Should I feel like I failed them because they refused my help? Short of kidnapping them, what else was I to do?

    Unless you're in a situation where you know someone is in trouble and they're at the border between life and death, and nothing you do or say will convince them to get help, it's easy to say "Oh yes, Society did this - society is twisted and put all this pressure on him to achieve this stature." Society is not some sort of beast that controls us - WE are society. We make up the rules. And WE did nothing to this man, just like we did nothing to my brother and my father. They did what they did because they chose to. They knew there were options, they knew there was help available to them, if only they took us up on the offer - but they refused. And now, this man is dead, my father is dead, and my brother is just now learning to function like a healthy person at age 23 - he wasted his youth, but better late than never, at least he didn't die.
  5. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Great post, Misu, my nomination for PoW.
  6. -Ken

    -Ken Guest


    As I understand the law (maybe Martin can help out here) states a
    person can be committed if he is a threat to themselves or others.

    When people are this disturbed, isn't the right thing to do is force
    them to get help. If they are a threat to others I would almost have
    to hope this law would be used.


    There are some horrible people in the field. There are also some very
    good people in this field. I would urge you to seek out someone great
    whenever you (or anyone else) needs medical help.

    One of the reasons I brought up this case is because there are so many
    issues within the mental help field. We have only touched on a few.
  7. Misu

    Misu Hey, I saw that.

    I don't know how the law is in other places, but from what I understood of Florida law, one could only committ a minor with the problems my brother had. Since he was over 18 at his worst, we couldn't do anything - he never tried to kill himself or put himself in any 'danger' (though you would think the people he was letting in our home and the things he was doing to his body were dangerous).

    Trust me, we went through it all. Including me coming home from work one night, late - it was about 12 midnight, my parents were sound asleep (my mom was pregnant at the time) and in front of our house there were like 12 cars - and there was a block party going on thanks to my brother and his friends, and in his room, they were smoking pot and doing other drugs. I basically took on the entire group that was there, including several rather large thugs who pretty much threatened to hurt me if I called the cops - which I did call the cops and they took off like the scared little sissy shits they are - and I did it alone. My mom was having not that great of a pregnancy (46 and pregnant), so I waited until morning to tell her - after I stayed up all night to make sure these thugs didn't come back. I went through it all - and police told me and my mother that unless he tried to kill himself, we really couldn't petition the courts to committ him.

    But Ken, I don't think this is an issue of the mental health field - the mental health field is there to help people who want to be helped. The thing about psychiatry and psychology is that the patient needs to WANT to change, to improve. They are the ones doing the fixing to themselves - the doctor is just there to guide them, to help them work through issues that the patient themselves bring up. This is one of the reasons why rehabilitation for many criminals doesn't work - it's not that psychology is poop and doesn't work, it's that the criminals aren't ready to change. That's it. Once you open yourself up and admit you're in trouble and need change, only then will therapy work for you. You need to own your problems (stole that term from Dr Phil, hehe) - once you own your problems, you become responsible for them.

    This guy, who chose to kill himself and 3 professor's, didn't own up to his problems. He didn't own up to the fact that HE was the one putting pressure on himself, not the prof's. HE didn't recognize the limit to his breaking point, and he put himself in situations that he simply could not handle. He and his wife entered into a relationship that despite it's problems, they stuck in it and continued the cycle of abusing each other. It's not the failure of the mental health field - it's the man's failure. As a person studying to be an RN, he was recieving basic education in psychology - and this is all pretty basic stuff if I, being a Junior level psych major, could recognize. An RN is the equivalent to a Master's level degree in the nursing field. So this guy knew the signs, and he did recognize that he was overwhelmed - but he CHOSE not to stop school or fix the problems with his marriage, and on the day he killed 3 people and himself, he chose to take a gun, get into a car, drive to campus, seek out the prof's, shoot them, and then shoot himself. The mental health field didn't fail him - he failed himself.
  8. RRedline

    RRedline Veteran MMember

    Re: Re: What went wrong?

    This is the very same reasoning I use when my neighbor's boyfriend beats the shit out of her. I used to barge into her home and break it up, call the police, etc., but she will not press charges against him. What can I do for somebody who won't help herself? Absolutely nothing. And there is no way I can FORCE her to improve the situation.

    I'm sorry Ken, but sometimes there is nobody to blame but the person who committed the act. We are not all responsible for people who go over the edge just because 'somebody' could have done 'something.' If my neighbor gets beaten to death, I will feel badly for her. However, I will not feel any guilt, and I don't expect anyone else to feel any other than the piece of shit who did it to her.

    There is only one person to blame in the main story in this thread, and his name is Robert S. Flores Jr. He REFUSED help. Had anyone FORCE help upon him, they would have been be breaking laws and infringing on the man's personal rights. This was a lose-lose situation, and it's a shame that people lost their lives because of it.
  9. LissaKay

    LissaKay Oh ... Really???

    I know and understand the frustrations of those who want to help those who don't want the help. Been there ... done that ... got the EMS shirt.

    However, I have also been in the unfortunate position of needing help for my child, and no one would give it to us. This is a battle on several fronts. First is the mental health service providers. It took me 8 ... count them EIGHT months to get a psychiatrist to see my son when he really started to "lose" it. The first obstacle was just finding a doctor that will even see patients under the age of 18, let alone a specialist in child psychiatry. Considering that America has the highest physician per capita in the world, there is a shocking shortage of available child psychiatrists. There are fewer than 6500 in practice in the entire country. Ten states each have less than 30, Wyoming has just four as of August 2002.

    Then there is the too common belief among psychiatrists that any emotional/behavioral/educational disorder can be attributed to ADHD. Throw some Ritalin, Adderal or Concerta at the kid and be done with it. The latest studies have shown that close to 60% of kids diagnosed as ADHD either have a co-morbid disorder, or don't have ADHD at all and it is another disorder can explain their aberrant behavior and/or moods. To make it worse yet, the standard ADHD medications can make other disorders, such as Bipolar, ODD and OCD, even worse, or if the child is only on the verge of developing the disorder, can push them into a full blown manifestation.

    The first three doctors we saw all insisted that my son was ADHD and poorly disciplined. The first was a lame ass Freud-wannabe with his ink blots and picture drawing tests, who said it was the separation from his father that was causing his behavioral problems. (No, you idiot, it's the ABUSE from his father that's causing a large part of this problem!) Doc #2 threatened to report me to Dept of Children's Services when I argued that he wasn't ADHD and I refused to put him on Ritalin or Adderal. The last one we saw of this trio, when I suggested that my son might be Bipolar, dismissed me entirely and said I shouldn't believe everything I read on the Internet. He refused to read the articles I had printed out from such sites as NAMI.Org, The Bipolar Child, and Child & Adolescent Bipolar Foundation.

    Finally, in a moment of desperation, I called Mobile Crisis. They got me an appointment with yet another doctor here that, they assured me, would not simply pin a convenient label on my son. But we couldn't get an appointment for intake for 6 weeks. It was another week before we actually saw the doctor. This one actually did accurately diagnose severe depression, PTSD and anxiety. He considered Bipolar but he felt my son didn't manifest enough of the symptoms. I thought about inviting him to come live in my home for a week so he could see for himself what it is like to live in the center of a tornado, hurricane and earthquake happening all at once. But he prescribed Paxil and set a return visit for a month away to see how we did with that.

    All last summer the storms came and went. I barely got any sleep because my son never slept. I'd call the doctor's office to get an appointment whenever it got really bad, but by the time two weeks went by, the storms would abate, only to rise up again a couple weeks later. It wasn't until my son's fourth suicide attempt (in which he almost succeeded) that I insisted we be seen NOW that we finally got him the care he needed. I took him in to the office while he was still in a full blown manic rage, threatening to kill himself, kicking the walls, throwing books and magazines and cussing out everyone around. He was hospitalized for a week, properly diagnosed and put on a medication that keeps him barely stable and able to function almost within the realm of normality. At least I can sleep at night now.

    His school is pretending to help. They put him on an IEP (Individualized Educational Plan) and they said there would be accommodations. However, there is a huge gap between what is on paper and reality. They seem to expect that now he is on medication that he will be a perfectly behaved angel, properly motivated to give his utmost in the classroom and obediently follow all directives without question. Right ... and just what color is the sky in your world?

    Recently there was a bill passed by the House of Representatives, without any formal hearing or vote, that would enforce a 1968 federal law the would give incentive to state and local governments to report to the FBI any person adjudicated as mentally defective for inclusion in the NCIC. This bill broadly defines mentally defective as anyone ever involuntarily committed to a psychiatric treatment facility with no regard for the reason for the commitment of nature of the illness. It would also include any person adjudicated as lacking the capacity to manage their own affairs. Fortunately, Congress adjourned without taking a vote on the "Our Lady of Peace" Act, or Schumer-McCarthy bill (S.2826). However, it is highly likely that it will be reintroduced in the 108th Congress.
    Flawed Bill Still Threatens
    Newly introduced state and federal legislation fosters stigma
    Congress Links Guns to Mental Illness

    Now doesn't all this give a warm, fuzzy feel to seeking out help for mental illness?
  10. yazdzik

    yazdzik Veteran Member

    Dear Friends,
    One need look no further than one'e health insurance coverage to see the ignorance and prejudice of most Americans. Cancer, with proper indemnification, costs one only the co-pay for an office visit, but mental health? Immense deductibles, limited visists, only a percentage of the fee actually covered. We view a heart attack as a disease, but a severe depressive episode as a moral failure.
    Such stupidity across an entire society can only end in tragic personal and social consequences.

    All good wishes,
  11. ditch

    ditch Downunder Member

    A point worth keeping in mind if we are attributing blame ....either by a society or an individual. If there is a case to be put that the subject of this discussion failed as a person and society was not to blame then lets look at the failure of individuals who suffer heart disease and their relative rights to receive adequate health insurance. In a lot of cases, not all, lifestyle, type of food consumed, amount of alcohol, cigarette smoking, are all choices taken by the individual. If the inevitable happens and heart attacks result then the amount of health insurance available is far more than for the individaul who struggles "to live with what he was born with" and fails. Meaning, that mental illness is an ailment where choices are few and there is often little that the sufferer can do to prevent tragedy from occurring when circumstances, family or work, become too much to bear. The case for the these sufferers receiving full equivalence in medical insurance is a strong one.
  12. Copzilla

    Copzilla dangerous animal Staff Member

    Or maybe Copzilla can clarify...

    This is true. I can involuntarily commit someone. Typically when that happens, they're held and evaluated for 30 days, and usually medicated during that time.

    When this happens, I bring the person to the mental health ward and have report in hand on what occurred. I have to articulate that not only are they mentally ill, but SPECIFICALLY by the manifestation that mental illness, they are a danger to themselves and/or other people. They can't just be extremely deranged... They have to be doing something specific that is hazardous, like walking down the middle of the freeway.

    Then a doctor examines them, before the commitment. The doctor is looking for signs of the mental illness, verifying what the officer is saying, by asking questions of the patient. They're very very good. Many people who are mentally ill will try to straighten up once brought into the hospital, but the doctors ask questions that always manage to find out what's going on with them. It will bring a whole new respect for the profession to watch it, and it's done with all caring and compassion.

    The problem in the whole process is the articulation of danger to themselves or others. If an officer takes no action, it's because he may not believe he can make that point. Is what they're doing insane, or is it a danger? Standing on a corner talking to a trash can is insane, but it's not a danger. We have to leave him alone, in spite of our deepest understanding that this is a person in crisis, and needs medical help. In the meantime, by leaving him alone without treatment, he may later become a danger, but we cannot consider that possibility.
  13. Stiofan

    Stiofan Master Po

    Martin, you'll be happy to know that in California, mental illness is now considered the same as physical illness, and cannot be limited in health insurance policies anymore. Should you suffer any mental illness, you have the right to see your health professional 3,4 or 5 times per week, every week of the year, if deemed necessary by the physican. Of course, the insurance premiums have increased 40 - 60% this year to cover this change, and as a result more Californians have choosen to go without insurance due to the costs, but life is full of trade offs, is it not?
  14. -Ken

    -Ken Guest


    As you know, we are all hopeful this will work out for you. I'm not sure but I think you just posted another nomination for Post of the Month.

    How does it feel to be competing against yourself?


    Thanks for clearing up how things work from a legal standpoint. Is there anything you would change in the law if you could (without going against our Constitutional Rights)?


    While allowing a boyfriend to beat you probably should be considered a mental illness, I worry more about people who have lost touch with reality. If you get appendicitis we don't think any less of you but the stigma of mental illness is something which is hard to overcome.

    We cannot assign fault to people who aren't capable of understanding what is going on or at least that's my opinion.

    Ditch and Martin - Absolutely!!!!
  15. Paladin

    Paladin Have Gun -- Will Travel

    From the article:
    ''The pressure of the relationship between my wife and myself, my new job and my desire to be the very best that I can are pushing me to a nervous breakdown,'' he wrote.

    We, as a society, push financial success as the only way be worthwhile. We cannot be content as a pawn, we need to advance our career. We need a college education. We need the 4 bedroom house with the solid oak entry door, slate foyer, tile countertops, professionally landscaped. We need a new SUV. We are *failures* if we are merely workers living in an apartment or a small house and driving an old beater of a car.
  16. ditch

    ditch Downunder Member

    "We cannot assign fault to people who aren't capable of understanding what is going on or at least that's my opinion."

    Ken, The difficult thing IMO is to determine is when is and when isn't an individual capable of understanding what is going on. A diificult one for the Psychs and the courts also I would suggest.
  17. Copzilla

    Copzilla dangerous animal Staff Member

    Even the insane have constitutional rights, don't they? They have the right to refuse treatment, and they regularly do.

    I have a brother who is a mental patient. He's required to take medications regularly, or he goes off the deep end. His doctor describes the reasons why he periodically stops his medications and does just that...

    It's a high for him. It makes him feel powerful and good. It's like a cocaine addict who keeps going back to the drug.

    Trouble is that he becomes so deranged that he cannot function in society at all. Work becomes impossible, and while he does not become violent, he becomes very confrontational, where nobody can hold a regular conversation without him becoming very angry over some strange perceived slight toward him.

    He still would not be a danger to himself, but he very much needs help, and would not ever get it for himself.

    The trouble with making the system more able to incarcerate mental patients against their will is that we all have some form of irregularity in our noodles... What says any of us are normal? It opens up a system that can be abused.

    And then there's the bottom line, which is what really motivates those in charge. If the state incarcerates, the state pays for that incarceration.

    I don't know what can be changed... Maybe relax the restrictions on law enforcement just a bit, but with medical oversight. After all, we would still have to get the patient examined, we just ought to be able to get treatment for someone before they try to kill themselves.
  18. -Ken

    -Ken Guest

    Some interesting points raised Copzilla.

    I am also afraid of the possibility of abuse in the scenario. It kind of reminds me of what we used to hear about political prisoners in Soviet "Psychiatric facilities" "getting treatment".

    While we need to respect everyone's rights, we also need to draw the line more in favor of both sides of this equation.

    If is not fair for the public and it is certainly not fair to Americans who need help.

    This is how I think the line should be redrawn. We understand a person who had severe Down's syndrome will require care for the rest of their lives. I believe we try to meet those requirements in as humane a way as possible.

    Perhaps, we need to redefine people who are "mentally ill" into a category very much like this. We really cannot to allow people who are deranged enough to repeatedly threaten people the luxury of unrestrained freedom.

    In the case I originally posted, the man had a history of disturbance. He had repeatedly threatened people and had confessed he was having a nervous breakdown.

    I believe we need to take this seriously. We need to be proactive rather than waiting for the guy to go over the edge. We all benefit from it - including the "patient".

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