Our Broken System

Our system is set up for failure. It’s no wonder why we have such a high suicide rate in our state and in our country. From lack of services to stigma to getting healthcare to laws that make mental health a crime, people are not getting the help they need and our state will continue to climb with rising suicide numbers and public meltdowns and catastrophes.

When a person can actually understand why someone would enter a VA hospital and blow his brains out or shoot up a business, then you can understand the chaos our system creates and does very little to change things.

You can’t be honest with healthcare workers. Honesty can add more trouble, red tape, and a host of other problems. Suicidal? Let’s take your guns. Now we have the added stress of being unable to protect ourselves. Let’s take their meds. Now we have to suffer in even more pain. Let’s take their…. quit trying to control someone else’s life. If they truly want to die, they will find a way to do so.

There are no immediate services. I need help now. I need a good counselor now. I need respite now. I need mentoring now. Months of back and forth paperwork, wait lists, no shows…. Try being disabled and having to keep up with the back and forth, the paperwork, the frustrations and not understanding the process. No real help there even when you cry out for help because it doesn’t make sense and no progress is being made.

They’re hiring mental health service providers straight out of high school now. Very little if any training, no experience, and no real passion or drive to help kids who need it. Even the experienced ones assume cases are all alike and apply the same tools and jargon regardless of if it fits the client or not. Stuff the square peg into the round hole… And then basically roll their eyes in frustration when it doesn’t fit. Must be our fault.

It’s truly sad when a law has to be passed for mental health, in particular ptsd, to be covered by workers comp, in a career field that sees a lot of violence and death. How is that even a thing? How was that not covered? How in the hell can they think it’s ok to penalize someone for needing a mental health break? This is the stigma that our world suffers from. We must be strong with all things all the time. It’s not ok to crack when your world falls apart and your child shatters. Smile, nod your head, we’re fine.

Punishing a person criminally for having a mental health crisis. Yes, you read that right. It’s a crime in Idaho. What you say or do can be used against you. How does that make life easier on you? How does that truly help? Now you have a record. Now you’re court ordered to do things and if you’re not mentally right yet, one little slip up adds more charges. Now how does that help someone get better?

We have proven services that can help a person in crisis but insurance won’t cover those services. What they will cover has long waits, poor quality, and not enough staffing. If you don’t have money, you don’t get the best care. What kind of message does that send?

Let’s talk about drug use since it can go hand in hand with mental health. Yet, in our country, we make drug use a crime rather than put it where it needs to be, mental health if it’s beyond simple social use. Again, if you’re rich and high up in the political system, it’s ok, we’ll just cover it up, but the lower end of the totem pole, well, you have to pay society for your crime. And since it’s a crime, have you used any substance before? Of course not. Who the hell will be truly honest? It’s a crime. So how does one get help? It’s a broken system.

If you admit you use drugs, it follows you in your record then the stigma is attached which shows in the bias for any future treatment in the medical system and in the world. If you have mental health issues (sans drug use) it too gets attached to the record that follows you, full of bias in future treatment and lack of services to help you get back on level ground. It’s a broken system.

Should mental health not be one of the most important aspects of life to take care of? Do we not want a productive healthy society? What are the drawbacks to that? Why keep the system broken and people down? It costs more in the long run if they allow people to fall apart and stay there. It costs more in the long run if we don’t provide appropriate services to kids in need. It costs more in the long run if we don’t provide care giver help to families struggling. Why wait till it’s too late, or they’re so bad off it takes that much longer to possibly recover or they completely and absolutely snap? Why are there so many good services out there out of reach to people?

Between our medical system, mental health, insurance and the criminal justice system, we have allowed these broken systems to continue for too long without real fixes that actually provide quality care and real help to those who need it. So many complain about it but very little is getting done. Just my 2 cents….

We should never fear calling the Police during a crisis… Part 1: My Journey with Ada County Juvenile Justice and Meridian Police Dept.

We should never fear calling the police during a mental health crisis. But that is exactly what I now fear. I will never utilize there service that we pay for, ever again, no matter how bad it gets. They have failed me. The Ada County Juvenile Justice Department has lied to me and they are not there to help your children as they are proving that.

Around September of last year (2020), my son had a complete and utter meltdown. Covid has been rough on our kids, especially those with autism or other mental health issues. Due to my child’s depression, we have a crisis plan in the event it is needed. I’ve never needed it before. That night, I did. 

I simply needed the police or ambulance to transport my child to the ER. My child had volunteered to get help but when he found out they needed blood work, he lost it. He hates needles, it’s part of his autism anxiety. I was afraid of him hurting HIMSELF, so I made that call. My son did NOT want to go to the ER and I alerted the officers of his diagnoses and his fear and that he was not willing. They said they may have to restrain him if he refused to cooperate. There was no mention of anything beyond that. My son was transported to the hospital in restraints. 

One month later I received a call. My son had a warrant out for his arrest. He was being charged with a felony assault on a police officer and a misdemeanor resisting charge.  They are charging him for ‘attempting to bite’ the officer even though he didn’t cause any harm, he’s a small kid and they had him on the ground putting a body wrap around him. 

Though I managed to have the warrant removed AND the prosecutor was willing to drop the felony, his supervisor would not let him. We have trial in April. They said they would drop the felony if we pled to the misdemeanor. This to me seems like blackmail. Why should we plead guilty to any crime when we simply needed help during a mental health crisis? They said they charge kids to make sure they’re getting the proper help they need… yet not one phone call to see how he is doing. Not one phone call to share any information regarding services. They didn’t even ask if he was receiving any services!  How is this helping my son?  If they were really seeking to only charge to help, then why wouldn’t the supervisor allow the prosecutor to drop the heavier charge and work with the other charge that remains? Again, this shows they don’t have his mental health in mind but are seeking to punish my child and for a crime that could follow him for the rest of his life and for what??? For calling 911 to help us get him to the hospital… Never again.

I’m a disabled veteran who is in the process of seeking caregiver support due to my disabling condition. Stress exacerbates my health issues. This has certainly put a lot of stress on my shoulders and added more to our plates when it wasn’t even necessary. Not to mention my son could have a felony record for life if the judge determines he’s guilty.  There are no laws to protect my son. Where’s the common sense?