Alabama Mental Health Commissioner Zelia Baugh is scheduled to testify before a U.S. Senate committee Thursday about community treatment of the mentally ill and disabled on the occasion of the Olmstead Act’s 13th anniversary. “We were chosen because of the work we’ve done as a state and agency for the last few years with regard to downsizing state hospitals, our focus on community care and our closing last year of the Partlow Developmental Center,” Baugh said in a Tuesday interview.
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Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m all for closing down these State Psychiatric Hospitals. But what we’ve seen too often and it’s not mentioned in the article is the following dynamic.
Reduction in State Psychiatric Hospitals = Increases in private psychiatric beds, increases in persons designated as “mentally ill” in the jails, increases in persons designated “mentally ill” as homeless and increases in persons designated “mentall ill receiving powerful psychotropics sometimes against their will (involuntary outpatient commitment).
So please don’t be fooled by the rosey sounding headline. We need to ask more questions. And then more.
Precisely why I posted this.