Tag Archives: mental health policy of repression

Take the rabbit, leave the mentally ill.

This Washington Post article (Watch him pull a USDA-mandated rabbit out of his hat) about how a children’s magician with a rabbit has been harassed by the federal government over a license required for the RABBIT, not for practicing magic tricks, shows what I have been trying to show to my fellow ‘consumers’ of mental health services: The administrative agencies, federal and states, are the centers that ENACT the oppression the people are feeling. I’ll explain in a moment.

Take the rabbit, leave the “doofus”. That was the WaPo calling that sweet-looking man a “doofus”. ts ts ts ts

About the magician, they DEMAND that the poor man concoct a 20 plus pages EMERGENCY escape PLAN for the RABBIT, you know, in case the rabbit is caught in the middle of a man-made terrorist act or a nature-made terrorist act. (Now, it is POSSIBLE, given the insanity of our federal and states bureaucrats, that they are awakening to the realization that MOTHER NATURE is…gulp…a TERRORIST. We NEED our bureaucrats to protect us from HER. I would love to see them arresting her for down-pouring on a summer Sunday, interrupting our family plans. Well, they are coming close. except that they started with a human:  Oregon Resident, Sentenced To Jail For Stockpiling Rainwater !!! CAN ANYONE GIVE THESE PEOPLE SOME THORAZINE!?)


The WaPo article analyses the insanity of the bureaucrats attitude and says this is about how the laws are enacted in this nation:

The story behind it illustrates the reality of how American laws get made. First Congress passes a bill, laying out the broad strokes. Then bureaucrats write regulations to execute those intentions.

And then, often, they keep on writing them. And writing them.

“Regulations are issued and enforced by the Agency.”

That’s the peril of the administrative agencies, that they are given DISCRETIONARY powers to INTERPRET the law handed down to them and apply it at will, and then they become the monkey on our backs.

The NY State Office of Mental Health (OMH) is MASTERFUL at interpreting the laws to HURT THE MENTALLY ILL. That agency does not pass a law that protects the people they are supposed to care for unless the courts or the legislators pass a law to CORRECT the abusive rulings of the agency. Then OMH claims that they are doing a good work because, well, the people are NOT aware of how the courts chastise the agency, in many occasions. They protect the PROVIDERS, including the abusive ones.

For examples of what I have just said, see some of my posts in the OMH category:


Side-by-side: SAFE ACT and ‘illegal’ OMH Guidelines enacting the ACT

NY Safe Act: gun law gives Office of Mental Health power to see the future [wink]

When is ‘minimum’ the same as ‘high’? When NYS OMH says so. Part 3

Our community needs to awaken to the realization that the actions and rules of the OMH show that there is no reason for us to trust that the agency is looking for our interests. We need to participate in the policy-making process of this agency, we can’t leave it to them to distort the laws meant to protect us.

That’s my personal feeling about this agency.

Gov. Cuomo’s new Protection and Advocacy System: Do we REALLY need to be protected??

I asked myself that question while I was at the state-wide video hearing last Friday about the Gov Cuomo’s proposal to create a  new P&A system. From the Metro area,  The Citywide Mental Health Project were the only ones there. More than shocked or upset, I was saddened by the lack of interest in our community and the public at large on the issue of abuses perpetrated on people with disabilities.

You would have thought that, after all the brouhaha about abuses and the gun control laws that promise to curtail the few rights we have left, after all those state reports about privatizing the functions of our government, which will make abuses a mere ‘collateral damage’ that comes with the imperative to make profit, you would have thought that after all that there would be a long line to get inside the conference room. Nope.

The situation I described was the same in other state counties: few brave souls showed up to speak up their minds. Many were able to articulate their lack of hope in the ability and willingness of this new system to protect people with disabilities. DIA was there, in another county; some people with developmental disabilities stood up to speak up  for themselves. The father of a son who was killed in one of this institutions was there. I wish I could speak to him; his comment was stripped of pleasantries and went to the root of the matter. His statements were very much what we at the Citywide have been saying about how the system is failing us.

Where is our community? It seems that our community and the society at large trust that the Governor, because he is a democrat, is doing everything right to help us.

Anyone who knows about politics knows that ‘trust’ in politicians is like trusting ice will keep your water cool for a long time. (Think about simile.)

Even if I grant good-will in the intentions behind this new P&A system, politicians make (GULP) mistakes. And one thing is the INTENTION behind the policy, another is the IMPLEMENTATION.

We are still here, the Citywide, trying to keep the issue in the open. The discussion of abuses is TABOO in our mental health system; we need to break that taboo.

Waiting for a miracle will not change things. We need to stand up and start speaking about this issue.

And if you are happy and have not experience abuses and mistreatment then, let those who have and want to denounce the abuses in the system do their work.

We can’t continue to cry ‘foul’ every time some story of abuse is published in our mainstream media and then go back to our state’s  ‘councils’ where nothing is done about anything without the consent of OMH or the city.

Organizing to secure funds for programs is a priority, but so is our lives and mental health.

We need to organize to make the system SAFE for us. It will not happen by magic.


NY Times article: Focus on Mental Health Laws to Curb Violence Is Unfair, Some Say


For those of you who read my comment at the NY Times, find here  the report I mentioned in the comment, then click on ‘Office of Mental Health’.

This is the comment itself:

In a 2012 NYS report about a survey on compliance with state’s licensing rules, OMH said “more than half of the agencies responded they employed titles that can be “licensed or certified” however were reportedly filled with unlicensed staff”, including psychologists and social workers. Also, that “a total of 414 nonlicensed staff were also reported as providing psychotherapy”. Then it said “OMH does not find a material difference in the quality of services provided in programs which also employ unlicensed staff”. Of 6759 OMH programs, 4646 are unlicensed and 2113 are “licensed” (whatever that means in OMH’s parlance). OMH concludes that more unlicensed programs and unlicensed staff performing as licensed are better because they save money and, well, who needs a psychiatrist or social worker when a case manager can do ‘the same work’ for less? The point: it’s not the mentally ill, it’s the system. Any increase in funding will go to over-priced non-for-profit CEOs salaries, we will use prisons as hospitals, and will pass laws to deprive people of their civil rights all in the name of ‘safety’ for the victims of the NRA’s propaganda: you and me. Quality of services have been reduced, punishment increased. Mental health industry is an industry like any other, filled with waste of tax payer money. The next time you read about a ‘crazy’ killing people, think ‘who was the case manager-acting-as-psychiatrist dealing with him?’ END.

I would like to add that the focus  at this point in the discussion generated by the NRA and those unfortunate killings must move away from the emotional plane to a rational one. We could move away from ‘somebody, stop these lunatics’ to ‘why is the system ‘fragmented’ and what it has to do with these killings?’

What do we achieve by arguing whether the killers in those massacres are mentally ill or not? What is the next step if the answer is ‘yes’? If the answer is ‘no’? Can the answer be a rotund ‘yes’ or ‘no’? Is the issue that simplistic and clear, no gray areas?

We are in a society saturated with violence, from the top down: the violence inflicted to the populace by corrupt politicians and lawmakers, by agencies administrators, by some judges; by the violence of a corporate world that has lost a sense of proportion, who sees no difference between profits and financial crimes as a source of profits. Violence from the ‘entertainment’ industry that demands the right to create ‘games’ that give you the close-to-reality feeling that you are killing or raping…

As a society, we come with awesome ideas to fix problems; the problem is at the implementation level. For example, it was not easy but ‘we’ came with the idea of housing for the homeless mentally ill with services and connections to the community. But then, the State said ‘good idea, let’s empty the psych hospitals and we save money’, and sent the patients to the streets without putting the money for services in the community. A mess developed, we blamed the homeless mentally ill for crimes and went after the ‘squeegee’ criminals, those cleaning car windows for a quarter at street corners.

Look, the money is going for what a friend calls “the poverty pimps”. There’s your mentally ill in action.

Follow the money, not the mentally ill. You’ll find the problem and the solution that way. If you accept as dandy OMH’s statement that, for money-saving purpose, there is no difference between the  service delivered by a psychiatrist or social worker and a case manager, don’t come crying to me later if someone slaps you in the face because his ‘psychiatrist’ didn’t do his/her ‘job’.

You are being conned, as in con-game, confident game, etc.

I will soon be posting a through comment about OMH’s licensing practices. Please, keep in touch.

Guns and Mental Illness and the “liberal impulses”. [revised]

Yet another interesting article in the NY Times on our favorite topics, guns and mental illness. This one was  written by  JOE NOCERA, appropriately titled ‘Guns and Mental Illness’. See https://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/29/opinion/nocera-guns-and-mental-illness.html?hp&_r=0

I mean, is the best way guns are discussed now a days, as associated to mental illness. Hey, they go together like arroz y habichuelas, rice and beans for you monolinguals out there.

No pun intended with this image. Do you get it?

No pun intended with this image. Do you get it?

I don’t know if  I’m getting over-sensitive about the topic of mental illness or that these journalists are just plain  insensitive. It could be both…nah, they are really way  too detached and insensitive. The case is that the blame-the-mentally-ill-and-lock-’em-up is getting to be nauseating.

The first thing that strikes me about Mr. Nocera’s article is the use of the label “liberal”, a word associated in good ol’ USA with everything…not conservative, let’s say. You know, if you feel that the poor must be left to die at the entrance of the emergency room because they don’t have money or health insurance, you are NOT a liberal, which is a good thing according to the not-liberals. So, Mr. Nocera uses a word that conveys this to America:

Liberals are viewed as against the USA, unpatriotic people.

Liberals are viewed as against the USA, unpatriotic people.

Thus, he pretends to write an ‘impartial’ article  about the topic of mental illness while at the same time using an  emotionally loaded political word, “liberals”, to invalidate the political stands of the advocates for the protection of people with mental illness.

From the outset, the tone of the article is that those who advocate for the mentally ill are wrong because they are liberals. Not only that they are “liberals”, but they suffer from “liberal impulses”:

Ultimately, the article I wrote was about how the “deinstitutionalization movement” of the 1960s and early 1970s — a movement prompted by the same liberal impulses that gave us civil rights and women’s rights — had become a national disgrace.

Is he trying to equate the struggles against oppression to some kind of mental illness?

When he mentioned “a national disgrace”, Mr. Nocera was not referring to “The last disgrace”, the title of Geraldo Rivera’s documentay in 1972 about Willowbrook and the atrocities committed in these institutions. That’s the background for the “deinstitutionalization movement” to which  Mr. Nocera refers, but conveniently he skips that background.


He talked about “over medication” in hospitals  as the problem. Sure, sure. “Over-medication” was what those children got when subjected to medical experimentation in the ‘institutions’ for the mentally ill and the ‘retarded’, as they were then called. That topic of torture in States’ psych hospitals is tabu for these journalists. But, that’s the mental health policy they are selling to you, to go back to the houses of horrors.


What would he call the racist society of the 60s and 70s? He didn’t talk about the ‘racists impulses’ that caused the Blacks to organize the civil rights movement as a self-defense movement. Nor did he talk about the ‘sexist impulses’ that motivated women to unite against them. I wonder if  Mr. Nocera would consider today’s women’s movement in India against rape-as-tradition   a ‘liberal impulse’, not as a movement for self-defense.

What I want the reader to notice is the consistent and persistent  omission by these ‘impartial’ journalists of the details about  the atrocities committed in those ‘institutions of healing’. No mention that people were involuntarily committed just for being ‘different’ or politically ‘liberal’. Nooo.

Mr. Nocera talks about how throwing the mentally ill out of the ‘institutions’ into the communities was worse than what they were suffering in the hospitals. He neglects to tell you that these ‘liberals’ wanted the services in the community and that it was the States that refused to provide them.

"Liberal impulses" in action. Mr. Nocera says liberals demands  are a disgrace.

“Liberal impulses” in action. Mr. Nocera says liberals demands are a disgrace.

If today you have housing for the mentally ill, less homeless mentally ill, it is thanks to those ‘liberals’. Of course, the ‘liberals’ are losing the battle today against corporate greed and, as a consequence, you  will see the same problems you see when our political leaders suck your money out of the communities and into permanent wars and for Wall Street profit.

‘Bad liberals’ demanding no budget cuts
on mental health services. Go figure.

The pro-institutionalization stance in these articles is so subtle that you find yourself at the end wanting it as a remedy to today’s problems.

With the mentally ill rarely institutionalized for any length of time — on the theory that their lives will be better if they are not confined in a hospital — other institutions have sprung up to take their place.

He is alluding to that article the other day http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/27/nyregion/new-yorks-mental-health-system-thrashed-by-services-lost-to-storm.html?smid=pl-share about how the situation for the mentally ill have worsen since storm Sandy. Funny that he refers to that article because  it shows that the problems with institutionalization are alive and well:

“I cried when I saw her,” Ms. Rosa said. “I found her in horrible conditions. She was lying in her own feces, she had a fractured leg and the provider could not explain how her leg was fractured.”

Today, as yesterdays, we have reports of abuses in state-run home care institutions, or in those private ones contracted by the state. There’s no way you can claim that locking people up is good practice. Historically, State-run institutions are places for experimentation and abuse. We have a Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs because you can’t protect them not even in the new millennium. The Center was created THIS YEAR as a result of continued abuses for the last 12 years.


It’s all about money. You take the money away and you have to use repression as your ‘best practice’.

And Liberals, beware. They want to label you ‘crazy’ and lobotomize you.

It’s all coming back at gun point, pun intended.

What to do? I will give my suggestion soon.

Here we go again: NYC mentally ill person kills citizen.

Bloomberg, asked earlier Friday about the episode at a station on Queens Boulevard in the Sunnyside neighborhood, pointed to legal and policy changes that led to the release of many mentally ill people from psychiatric institutions from the 1960s through 1990s.

“The courts or the law have changed and said, no, you can’t do that unless they’re a danger to society; our laws protect you. That’s fair enough,” Bloomberg said on “The John Gambling Show with Mayor Mike” on WOR-AM.

Bloomberg leaves it for you to fill in the blanks there: the court has changed the rules since the 1960s, he says, and you can’t involuntarily commit these people who need to be thrown away; and you, dutifully, arrive to the conclusion he is leading you towards: ‘stupid laws’. He wants you to conclude that the laws that ‘protect’ the mentally ill are illogical, that the laws blankly  protect the deranged. Something must be done about that, QUICKLY, like for example, HEY, let’s change the laws!!! Let’s go back to the Willowbrook times and involuntarily commit people into houses of torture.


He doesn’t tell you that in the 1970s and 80s, the reason why the states were mandated by the courts to discharge the mentally ill and people with ‘special needs’  from the psych ‘hospitals’  was that the ABUSES in Willowbrook showed the treatment these people were receiving in those houses of ‘healing’: they were being used for medical experimentation, torture, both children and adults. Please, go back and watch Geraldo Rivera’s documentary about Willowbrook.

Willowbrook: A house of horrors.

Bloomberg doesn’t tell you either that the states ‘complied’ with the court orders at that time by INTENTIONALLY throwing these people to the streets WITHOUT HOUSING OR SERVICES in the community. He doesn’t tell you that the 1980s saw the hard-fought war of communities with the states to house and service these people. All of the major problems we saw with the mentally ill in those years (1980s) were due to the lack of mental health services and housing in the communities because the states refused to put the money there.

Once housing and services started to be put in place, the problems with them subsided significantly. Bloomberg knows this, but he won’t remind you of this because he just wants the easy ‘fix’: lock ’em all up. Hey, it’s good business for the profit seekers, the prison builders. Prisons are now our psych hospitals. Just like in the 1980s.

Look, if you divert TRILLIONS of dollars and use them for ‘permanent wars’, for surveillance equipment in each of our streets corners to ‘protect’ you from who knows what or whom (the only paranoid here seems to be the  State and the feds), there is going to be no money for humanity here. It’s not like I’m saying something new or revolutionary. You know this. You just ‘forget’ for some reason.

Of course you are going to see more of these cases! Bloomberg makes cuts to social and mental health services and then expect that the problems HE causes with those cuts can be fixed with a mental health policy of REPRESSION.

He and the governor closed psych hospitals these past two years not because the hospitals alleviated the problems and were unnecessary but despite the problems of mental illness. It’s a mindless policy that functions based on a need for profit. This policy shows that the so-called ‘BEST PRACTICES’ is fiction. You can’t have best practices when the best practice tells you to keep programs open but the state wants to save money by closing them.

I doubt that anyone is against hospitalization IF the policy is to serve the person, not to torture he or she.

It’s a very complex problem. It’s not only what you see, but what you refuse to see in terms of our investment in wars.


That’s all you need to know.

Make the necessary adjustments: SAY NO TO WARS AND CORPORATE AND BANKSTERS’ GREED.

My condolences to the family of the victim of this horrific incident. No one wins when we save money by withholding treatment.