“Since it has closed, however, Shore mental health patients' plight has deteriorated even more precipitously,” he writes in a hair-raising op-ed in DelmarvaNow that goes on to catalog what he has seen since the closing - suicidal patients being warehoused in ICUs and acutely psychotic patients restrained for days in handcuffs.
“What is going on is calculated neglect,” he writes.
Yes, it is. And it’s what those who live and work with severe mental illness can expect if cost-cutting governors and state legislatures succeed in their rush to shutter psychiatric wards and hospitals that are often the only thing standing between patients with severe mental illness and the streets, jail or death.
Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Georgia – these and other states are threatening or beginning to further shrink a psychiatric bed population that was already at a critical point before the economic crisis of the last few years. Lawmakers in these states and everywhere need to hear from advocates that turning society's most fragile citizens onto the streets is not an economical or humane option.
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