60 Minutes Investigates America’s Failed Mental Illness Treatment System
(Sept. 30, 2013) The CBS news magazine 60 Minutes devoted one of its season premiere segments to an examination of schizophrenia and the consequences of not treating it.
“Imminent Danger” was in production for nearly 10 months and featured Treatment Advocacy Center founder E. Fuller Torrey, MD, and others, including two young men living with treated schizophrenia and video of a third man whose schizophrenia is untreated.
From the program:
60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft: “The mass shooting at the Navy Yard two weeks ago that resulted in the deaths of 13 people, including the gunman was the 23rd such shooting in seven years. It is getting harder and harder to ignore the fact that many of the people pulling the triggers have been severely mentally ill, not in control of their faculties and not receiving treatment.”
Dr. Torrey: “Every person I have taken care of . . . had a very good reason for doing what looked to be crazy behavior, but in their mind it wasn’t crazy behavior it was in response to something that was very logical that their voices were telling them..
Jacob Bowen, living with schizophrenia: “Basically all my voices I have are just voices telling me to harm myself of others . . . and that’s why I think I need to get on medication because I don’t want to hurt anyone.”
Jeffrey Lieberman, MD, president of the American Psychiatric Association: “You could be the most popular student, you can be the valedictorian of your class and if you develop schizophrenia it will change the functioning of your brain and change the nature of your behavior. Usually it’s multiple voices. . . .When they are at the worst, the person cannot distinguish the voices from the illness.”
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart: “I have 2500 people with severe mental illness in my jail today. This is a population that people don’t care about, so as result there are no resources for them.”
Sheriff Dart and the Cook County Jail also were featured in a recent front-page Wall Street Journal story, “The new asylums: Jails swell with mentally ill” (Sept. 26). “Society was horrified to warehouse people in state hospitals, but we have no problem with warehousing them in jails and prisons,” he told the Journal in a story that is behind a pay wall but may be accessed by subscribers.
Watch “Imminent Danger” on CBS.com.
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