Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Comments by Rich42

Showing 4 of 4 comments.

  • I do understand the dismay between the usage of “mental illness” and “mental health.” It is not semantics because I have been making an effort to use them in their correct contexts (plus many organizations insist on us using the correct language). You are correct in assessing it as a “volatile mental illness situation” because that deals with individuals exhibiting diagnosable mental illness (oftentimes they have already been diagnosed).

    I would consider shifting your paradigm when it comes to understanding the definition of mental health however. In my context, it is simply bringing an individual affected by mental illness to a mental state where they can function socially and mentally on their own. In what way do you consider the difference between mental illness or mental health as equivalents to brainwashing and mind control?

  • Of course! I am associated with the Butte County Department of Behavioral Health and one of the programs I help oversee is the CIT program. I work with several of the program coordinators and directors, so I am “plugged in” so to speak. They are all very involved in the community and have made tremendous strides in turning around the program over the past 5 years.

  • I think the idea behind this white card is being misrepresented and that your first impressions of this project, while justifiable, are incorrect. As someone who has been working closely with members of this project team, I can attest that this is NOT meant to be a “database system” or a tool to stigmatize the local mental health population. Its intent is quite to the contrary. This product was requested by mental health consumers as a way to open dialogue with local law enforcement if there ever were to be a conflict. Since law enforcement officers are often the first responders to volatile mental health situations, having an instantly identifiable resource such as the White Card can help diffuse the situation. Our local officers are trained using the Crisis Intervention Training method pioneered in Florida and utilized throughout the country. A large amount of our local law enforcement agencies have CIT officers readily available and the presentation of a White Card would be an instant deescalation tactic especially when the consumer has specific triggers or is acting peculiarly when confronted.

    On the issue of government intrusion and as one comment colorfully put it: “a path to implants or tattoos,” it is not even close to being the dystopian vision your article presents it as. There are NO databases collected. None. A consumer can request a completely blank card. That means no photo ID, no name, no diagnosis, and no personal information whatsoever. As stated before, this is a communication tool. It is for law enforcement to identify when more care is needed or when CIT should be utilized. It does not create more stigma. In fact, consumer responses to the program have indicated this is less stigmatizing and it makes consumers more confident that they will be treated normally, especially since logos of all the local law enforcement departments are on the backs of these cards. These logos bring legitimacy and that’s what the consumers wanted. Is this solution perfect? Of course not, but it is an attempt to help bridge the communication gap during a consumer/law enforcement encounter. There is no requirement to have a White Card, it can be thought of as a prop, and it is completely voluntary. Just keep in mind that this was something born by mental health patients themselves.

    If you would like to ask me any questions about the program I am open to answering them as long as they are polite.