Friday, May 24 2013 8:09 PM EDT2013-05-25 00:09:02 GMT
Biomedical Research Foundation has decided to move forward with a plan to operate and manage LSU Hospitals in Shreveport and other cities in Louisiana. More >>
Biomedical Research Foundation has decided to move forward with a plan to operate and manage LSU Hospitals in Shreveport and Monroe, Louisiana.More >>
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -
The increasing spate of mass shootings, from the Newtown, Conn., school massacre, to the mass shooting inside of an Aurora, Colo., movie theater -- both of which involved suspects with a history of mental illness -- has some people arguing that these are indicative of a broken mental health care system.
Local forensic psychiatrist Dr. George Seiden says the mental health system is grossly under-funded.
"Our mental health system is so overwhelmed and so under-staffed and so unavailable that what happens is the prisons become our mental health providers," he says.
A recent study found 16 percent of inmates in U.S. jails and prisons have a serious mental illness, a figure that has tripled in 30 years.
A separate study found that one in three homeless Americans has a serious mental illness.
Those patterns emerged after a decades-long push to de-institutionalize the mentally ill.
Dr. Seiden says the plan was to get them out of the hospitals and into the community mental health system.
But more patients began to fall through the cracks.
Family psychologist Dr. Bruce McCormick says chronic under-funding has led to long waits for care. "The need outweighs the available sources ten, twenty-fold, and that's common nationwide."
It's the same story for long-term care, even at LSU Health in Shreveport, with its 51-bed psychiatric ward and a crisis unit with 15 patient rooms.
LSU Health psychiatry professor Dr. Mary Jo Fitz-Gerald says, "As it is now, we cannot get people into Central. People stay here for six months, and they have not made it to Central, which is in Pineville."
State budget cuts make the prospect of changing that highly unlikely any time soon.
Dr. McCormick says, "When it comes to mental health issues, we are a country of ostriches. We pretend it doesn't happen until it does, and then we look for the quickest fix, the quick law to pass. We want to forget about it and go on and put our heads back in the sand. It's not working for us."
Some argue when we don't pay up front for mental health care, we end up paying in different, and more costly, ways down the road.
Dr. Seiden says, "We need to realize that by not making treatment available, we don't make these people go away. We just increase the likelihood that they will disturb us in some way."
And that can range from the mentally ill ending up homeless, in prison, or in rare cases, involved in horrible crimes.
Dan Sligh and his wife were in their pickup truck on Interstate 5 heading to a camping trip when a bridge before them disappeared in a "big puff of dust."More >>
The trucker was hauling drilling equipment when his load bumped against the steel framework over an Interstate 5 bridge. He looked in his rearview mirror and watched in horror as the span collapsed into the water behind him....More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 10:40 AM EDT2013-05-24 14:40:11 GMT
(CNN) – Nearly 115,000 federal workers will get a four-day weekend, but it's not reason to celebrate. The employees have to take furlough days thanks to the forced spending cuts that kicked in March 1. TheMore >>
Nearly 115,000 federal workers will get a four-day weekend, but it's not reason to celebrate.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 9:54 AM EDT2013-05-24 13:54:54 GMT
(POOL/CNN) – George Zimmerman's attorneys have released new evidence taken from Trayvon Martin's cell phone. His attorneys said the data paints a different picture of the 17-year-old Martin than what hisMore >>
George Zimmerman's attorneys have released new evidence taken from Trayvon Martin's cell phone.More >>