We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
All mental illness is different in different people. That is some people who are bipolar are functional, some are helped with medication and some are neither functional or helped with medication. Some schizophrenics are functional, some are helped with either medication or talk therapy and some are not helped with any treatments. There is also a lesser defined mental illness of people born of a addicted (drugs or alcohol) mother who also show symptoms that are not the same for all those with this problem. So 70 or so years ago I knew mentally ill people who were forced (i.e. had no choice not that any person or law forced them) to survive on their own and they did so; some did not of course.
This broad range of symptoms and degrees has been "boiled down" to a short list of mental illness but this effort hasn't really accommodated the variability between individuals. The human race "may be" completely made up of people with one or more mental illnesses of varying degrees. The geniuses, the gay, the workaholics, the lazy... all of them may well be mentally ill. Politicians, especially, are all likely mentally ill as are all the writers, artists and performers of all kinds.
I think we delude ourselves into believing that we can "fix" them. Partly because we can "kinda" fix someone who is not as mentally ill as someone else might be. Or at least we "think" we fixed them where in reality they may be one of those people who will be able to fit in even with their mental illness and not because we talked to them or we gave them treatment or medication.
I am not sure that even with all the expense and effort that we "cure" anyone who is mentally ill. I think it is a great delusion and what really happens is the mentally ill figure out how to get you to stop bothering them by making believe (acting as though) they are normal.
"Cure" and "fix" are not something we complain about in most other areas of medicine. You aren't necessarily wrong about the individuality of mental health, but you will search long for a schizophrenic who is not helped at all by medication or is well without them. As with many conditions, sometimes we can do it all, sometimes we are just helping people get by. Why we single out mental health as especially blamable for this has a whiff of being dismissive of those who labor in those vineyards for poor pay and much criticism.
Assistant Village Idiot
"Why we single out mental health as especially blamable for this has a whiff of being dismissive of those who labor in those vineyards for poor pay and much criticism."
I certainly don't "single out" anyone. Simply responding to the point made in the post. As for "blamable and dismissive" That is far from the point. The point is that like Sisyphus the task is impossible. Anyone who knows, is related to or has worked with someone with serious mental illness knows or will sooner or later know that nothing they do will change it or fix (a word you don't like) it. But "fix it" is indeed what the purported goal is.
As for "poor pay" compared to what?
My points were not for the professional, they either know the truth of what I said or will never learn. My comments were for those who suddenly realize that someone they know or are related to is mentally ill or more to the point seriously mentally ill. My comment is in essence that you cannot fix them, they are broken and if you allow them to they will break you too. They may be dangerous, they most certainly are unpredictable and knowing this could save your life or at least prevent unnecessary guilt and sadness that you somehow are at fault. Staying in a relationship with a mentally ill person can be fatal or at least fatal to the relationship if not to life itself. But unless you have experienced this first hand you won't know it. So read what I said and you will at least know more than you would have. Then if you chose to spend years of your life trying to fix this person at least you were fore warned. Sadly this warning applies to parents and grandparents too as the grandmother of the shooter discovered quite suddenly. I will ad that not all mentally ill people are dangerous but most can be and you will not know which is which until it is too late.
Thank you for clarifying. I spent my career in public mental health, the pay sucks and you run the risk of being assaulted. Then we listen to many outsiders complaining at us because of their expectations of what magic they think we should be doing. Nothing in the papers or on the TV is ever good. We did everything wrong. So I am a bit testy about it, yes. In the context you provided, that you are seeking to lower expectations in the general public, I should have been more grateful.
We work within the context of the laws and budgets we are provided. Outpatient commitments that include required medication would help a lot. Few states allow it, or have it only in theory.
I saw this article and wrote it up myself about a week ago. Scull is a sociologist who is pissed off that his ideas about what should work are no longer tried - because they don't work. So he goes into the history of mental health, back decades and even a century, in hopes of proving how stooopid those others are. Whenever someone brings up lobotomies or side effects of medicines we haven't used in forty years, it's because they don't have much that's more recent.
If we could mandate outpatient treatment, especially including medication, we would have more side effects and less tragedy. More people with jobs, fewer losing their apartments every six months, fewer homeless, more required appointments for people who think they don't need them. We would also need a 3x larger outpatient MH and legal system to manage this.
We don't want that, for good reasons and bad, and therefore have the amount of street people we feel we can endure. If we don't like it, it can be changed. Let's not ask any disgruntled California sociologists how to best do that.
Assistant Village Idiot
1. Psychology wraps itself in the mantle of evidence-based scientific medicine - yet after 100 years of modern paychotherapy, both therapeutic approaches and outcomes are largely unconfirmed by statistical analysis.
2. From its beginnings Psychology allowed itself to be politicized. This has accelerated to the point where much of the general population has lost trust and respect.