Every day I drive through Sunland-Tujunga and I see the hordes of homeless walking the streets. I know that many of these people are mentally ill; they talk to themselves or imaginary people, wave their arms around, hallucinate, aggress upon others, self-medicate with drugs and alcohol.
What kind of life do these people have? What kind of hope do they have? The “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” crowd fault the person, the bleeding hearts want to take care of them without any effort of the person. I see an individual, but for the ACLU’s challenges that would not have been incapacitated by an involuntary brain take over.
Let me explain. Mental illness such as schizophrenia and bi-polar disease presents itself in young adults. If these individuals, who are of legal age, were to be mandated treatment, often the disease can be controlled. There are so many therapies and medications available now that these people can be trained to identify an upcoming bi-polar episode and increase their medications in advance of it. Schizophrenics have been shown to be able to identify hallucinations and delusions as hallucinations and delusions at an early stage of disease. The ACLU denied this opportunity to these people by arguing against mandated commitment. This has been 30 years, a full generation, in the making.
Mental illness is often treatable; however, the illness itself makes the victim unwilling to undergo treatment. These people cannot make their own decisions about treatment until they undergo treatment and become lucid, which does not happen because of the ACLU ruling regarding the freedom to choose. The Catch 22 is that the earlier you treat the better the outcome, as with any medical condition.
These people often self-medicate with drugs and alcohol to soothe the thoughts and feelings, hallucinations and delusions. They spiral down. The parents, family and friends who love them can no longer handle them. The person winds up homeless, unemployed, and on the streets. Then they engage in daily survival. Imagine, with your skills and experience, trying to survive on the streets and multiply the difficulty by hallucinating or paralyzing anxiety attacks. Everybody loses.
It has been thirty or so years since the ruling and the closing of the psychiatric hospitals. The problem multiplies itself, adding to the population of drug addicts without mental illness, and the unfortunate souls stuck in homelessness due to economy.
Why is it OK to mandate vaccines and chemotherapy for individuals, yet refuse to mandate treatment for the mentally ill? How humane is it when we allow a treatable diseases to go untreated because the nature of the disease does not accept treatment. It pains me to see this and know the torture these people are experiencing. I think it is time to revisit mandated treatment. How about you?