Archive for February, 2016

Cook County Jail Mental Health Center

Bipolar For Life

In the United States, “budget cuts” have eliminated most of the community mental health services that up until the mid 1990’s served a vast number of uninsured, unemployed, homeless, drug and/or alcohol dependent, and otherwise disenfranchised people.

Where once these people in need of services were able to access a minimal level of care including evaluations for mental illness, medications, group and individual therapy, social work support for helping them get Medicaid, job training and placement, substance abuse treatment, and connection with community support services such as AA and NA, now all of these services have largely been shut down.

Now, without access to mental health services, people who were formerly able to access care are left on their own. What happens to them?

Homelessness, drug addiction, crime related to survival on the street with mental illness.

Who assumes their care?

Well, that depends on which prison they end up…

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Mental illness is a result of misery, yet still we stigmatise it

Mentally ill persons are very often in a prison, in a mental prison, in a prison, where they were put it from others …

Mental illness is a result of misery, yet still we stigmatise it

Patients are being shunned in the mistaken belief they have biological defects. In fact the evidence shows that most have endured traumas

Illustration by Nate Kitch
Illustration by Nate Kitch

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Hier. Und jetzt?Als Flüchtling in Deutschland

Hier. Und jetzt?

Hier. Und jetzt?

Als Flüchtling in Deutschland


what-life-is-like-in-a-prison-camp-in-the-dnr-body-image-1437397705-size_1000.jpg July 21, 2015


Mental health Opinion Mental illness is devastating lives. Where is the outrage? Alastair Campbell There’s less stigma these days, but we still don’t have services that can cope with the demand

Mental illness is devastating lives. Where is the outrage?

There’s less stigma these days, but we still don’t have services that can cope with the demand

NHS vows to transform mental health services with extra £1bn a year

NHS vows to transform mental health services with extra £1bn a year

Taskforce calls for provision of 24/7 support for people in crisis and 10% reduction in suicide rates

Each year one in four UK residents experience a mental health problem.
Each year one in four UK residents experience a mental health problem. Photograph: Jolie Clifford/Glasshouse Images/Corbis



Did you know that more Americans now die from suicide than are killed in car crashes each year?

According to the CDC, there has been a substantial spike in suicide deaths in the United States in recent years.  Today, approximately 9.3 million Americans admit to having suicidal thoughts, and approximately 2.7 million Americans each year actually make a plan for how they would commit suicide.  We are a deeply, deeply unhappy nation, but of course this phenomenon is not just limited to America.  According to the World Health Organization, suicide is now the third highest cause of death in the entire world.  Globally, suicide rates have soared by 60 percent over the past 45 years, and the WHO is now projecting that by the year 2020 someone will be committing suicide somewhere in the world every 20 seconds.

There was an article in the…

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Keine Gnade in Missouri 74-Jähriger trotz Hirnschaden hingerichtet

Very important story: Of prisons and mental illness

Very important story: Of prisons and mental illness

One of the most important stories you’re likely to read this month comes from Stuart Bramhall, an eloquent expatriate who blogs incisively about mental health issues at The Most Revolutionary Act.

Her latest post describes the tragedy unfolding in this country arising from the Reagan-era demolition of community mental health services and the ongoing privatization of the American penal system.

It’s the first of two posts, with the second yet to come, and we’ll make another exception about reprinting posts in toto since she gracefully invites sharing — for which we’re grateful.

The Prison Industrial Complex

I first became concerned about America’s growing prison industrial complex as a private practice psychiatrist in California and Washington between 1978 and 2002. What I witnessed, in essence was closure of most US mental hospitals in the late seventies and early eighties, with the ultimate transfer of American’s mentally ill from hospitals to  prisons.

Replacing Mental Hospitals With Prisons

The driving force behind closing US mental hospitals was the advent of new antipsychotics, which enabled many (but definitely not all) mentally ill individuals to be treated in the community. At the time the public was promised that money saved from closing down state institutions would be used to provide outpatient treatment in the community. However with the advent of Reaganomics in 1980, this never happened. Rather than increasing, funding for community mental health steadily declined. And as more and more options for community care dried up, our penitentiaries steadily filled up with mentally ill non-violent offenders who were unable to get help in the community.

At considerable cost to the taxpayer, I might add. Given that the costs of keeping a mentally ill individual in a penitentiary are three to six time what it costs to treat them at an outpatient mental health center.

As of 2006, the last time mentally ill offender statistics were compiled, the US prison system had become the largest mental health provider in the country – with nearly 50 percent of inmates reporting mental health problems. (See and

With another 20-30% in prison for crimes related to substance abuse (for which they never get treatment, either in prison or in the community).

High Prison Rates Are Economically Driven

Aside from the absolute barbarity of a criminal justice system that warehouses vulnerable mentally ill patients with sociopathic violent offenders, what really troubles me is that the main drivers of our skyrocketing incarceration rate are no longer political – but economic.

It simply can’t be argued any longer that longer prison sentences and more prisons are essential to reduce violent crime. Statistics show that both violent and property crime have been steadily declining since 1990. Yet rates of incarceration in the US continue to climb.

Presently the US has more people (2.1 million) in prison than any other country in the world. In fact we recently exceeded China, which has 1.6 million people in prison, despite having four times the population. Statistics also show that nearly half (one million) of our prison population are inside for non-violent offenses.

In other words, despite the political reality that our prisons our costing taxpayers billions of dollars by warehousing people who could be better treated and managed in the community, there are powerful economic drivers to keep locking more and more of them up. In fact incarceration and detention has turned into a multibillion dollar growth industry.

Moreover Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), Wackenhut and the 16 other for-profit prison companies are all big donors to the campaigns of federal and state lawmakers seeking to expand both prison populations and prison privatization (CCA, which has a monopoly on running immigration detention facilities, also helped write the Arizona anti-immigration law).

To say nothing of the dozens of US corporations employing cheap prison labor (as an alternative to outsourcing) to improve their bottom line.

Implications for Prison Reform

These powerful economic drivers have some very important ramifications for prison reform advocates:

  1. Money spent on private prisons is basically corporate welfare – taxpayer money that is winding up in the pockets of private corporations with little or no oversight or accountability.
  2. Genuine prison reform is unlikely to come about unless these corporations themselves are targeted. As we have seen with the anemic Wall Street bail-outs, federal and state lawmakers are totally unwilling to undertake major reform that potentially affects the bottom line of their corporate donors.

To be continued with a list of players making big bucks off our burgeoning prison industrial complex.

Horrific video shows New Orleans police officer beating 16-year-old female,black,bipolar, inmate with shackles


Horrific video shows New Orleans police officer beating 16-year-old female inmate with shackles

New Orleans Advocate

A New Orleans police officer who beat a bipolar 16-year-old female inmate with shackles is not facing criminal charges for his actions.

Video of the beating was released Wednesday by the Office of the Independent Police Monitor, and posted by the New Orleans Advocate and other local media. Officer Terrance Saulny was fired last month for the incident, which took place in September, but he has not been charged.

The cell surveillance video shows Saulny arriving at the girl’s cell in the city juvenile detention center to put shackles on her. She appears to talk to him (there’s no sound in…

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