Monday, August 3, 2020

As Trump Calls for More ‘Institutions,’ GOP Shifts Focus to Mental Health

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From The Washington Post: “Wisconsin state Rep. Paul Tittl always thought mental illness was something that afflicted other families. But one year, the Republican lawmaker got what he called a triple ‘smack dab, slap in the face.’

In 2013, the maid of honor in Tittl’s wedding committed suicide. Then his cousin committed suicide. Another relative was institutionalized with a serious mental illness that year.

Now Tittl has joined the ranks of Republican lawmakers nationwide pushing to expand mental health treatment, a remarkable turnaround for a party that a few years ago was staking its reputation on cutting taxes and starving government budgets. The renewed GOP focus comes as the party, which lost more than 300 state legislative seats last year, has struggled to convince voters it cares about a host of societal challenges, including mass shootings, opioid and methamphetamine abuse, homelessness and surging suicide rates.

‘We used to just brush it under the rug,’ said Tittl, chairman of the state Assembly’s Committee on Mental Health, ‘but the simple fact is we now know we need to talk about it.’ . . .

Even in Washington, President Trump has vowed to consider federal policy changes, including floating a controversial proposal to open more psychiatric institutions. It has become his go-to solution for mass shootings, most recently after August’s back-to-back shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio.

‘I do want people to remember the words “mental illness.” These people are mentally ill,’ Trump said of mass shooters several days after the incidents. ‘A lot of our conversation has to do with the fact that we have to open up institutions; we can’t let these people be on the streets.'”

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9 COMMENTS

  1. “..In 2013, the maid of honor in Tittl’s wedding committed suicide. Then his cousin committed suicide. Another relative was institutionalized with a serious mental illness that year….”

    I’ve experienced the same thing myself regarding suicide and my own extended family; and I have also attempted suicide twice myself. My problem was Akathisia.

  2. I thought you GOP guys were true conservatives, eyes fixed on the past, but you don’t remember 19th Century mental institutions, which were far from cities, so escapees were easily caught. These institutions couldn’t exist without the patients, because the patients did all the grunt work, and then some. The grounds had farm acreage and barns because the patients fed themselves and did the necessary work maintaining them, the excuse being that this was a part of their treatment (a more cogent reason was that taxes to support them were less needed, once the early ones “silted up” with patients).

  3. “….A lot of our conversation has to do with the fact that we have to open up institutions; we can’t let these people be on the streets.’”..”

    The “Classic Mentally Ill” are not shooting people. Its a small proportion of the large percentage of “Mentally Well People” that take Psychiatric Drugs for convenience, that are going on the Rampage.

  4. I think he would get a lot of pushback from mh people, who are usually liberals of some sort, and who have at least been paying lip service to deinstitutionalization for years. But there could well be a reactionary clique of psychiatric fascists waiting in the wings for an official nod. If so they should be easy to expose, and in so doing psychiatry itself could well be collateral damage. At least my optimistic side believes this…

    • Torrey has been promoting more institutions. When not touting AOT.

      I think he’s talking out both sides of his mouth and hoping no one notices.

      There is less HUD now which costs less than institutionalizing people. But thanks to all the scapegoating Torrey and others have built careers on, people want to round up all the “mentally ill” and lock them away to rot.

      A lot of people will commit suicide if this happens. And my guess is when the asylums overflow the “doctors” will take a page from Hitler’s finest and kill people through “natural causes” like starvation, exposure to extreme temperatures, refusing insulin for the diabetes their profession already inflicted. Humane isn’t it?

  5. Suicide and institutionalization are symptomatic of “mental illness”? I don’t think so. People have their own reasons for offing themselves, and institutions of detention hold people who have no physical (i.e. no literal) illness whatsoever.

    President Trump though is playing the violence card here as if there was any evidence that treatment, often a violent matter in its own right, prevented violence. People who commit massive acts of violence are only “mentally ill” after the fact, and after the fact, it’s too late to prevent them from having committed their violent crimes. To do so, the mental health treatment system would have to become a pre-crime unit, perhaps it is already, and if all people are “innocent until proven guilty”, doing so is very problematic, especially with regard to constitutional rights, and the right to due process of law in particular.

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