Cycle of Crisis

Source: Megan O’Matz, Sun Sentinel, December 15, 2016

In Florida, the soaring number of forced hospitalizations of mentally ill reveals a broken health care system failing those who need it most…..

….The government closed or downsized many of the facilities, and efforts shifted to enable the mentally ill to live in the community, in their homes or elsewhere, with the help of local professionals. But the government never allocated enough money for services or housing. Now people with mental illness are confined in jails, cast adrift in the streets, or left to the care of families without the means to support them. There’s not enough help between a short hospitalization or being sent to a state mental institution such as Florida State Hospital in Chattahoochee, the state’s largest….

Dying for help
Source: Megan O’Matz, Sally Kestin and John Maines, Sun Sentinel, December 15, 2016

Families struggle with severely mentally ill relatives, then become victims of their violence. Florida’s health care system is too stressed to prevent the tragedies. ….

…. No government agency monitors the tragedies. But a six-month Sun Sentinel investigation determined that people with mental illness have killed or brutally assaulted at least 500 loved ones in Florida since 2000. During that time, Florida’s spending on mental health programs has declined significantly: When adjusted for inflation, the state last year spent one-third less per capita on mental health and drug treatment than it did in 2000, according to a Sun Sentinel analysis of data. ….

…. Jailing a mentally ill inmate in Florida costs up to three times more than treatment. One successful statewide program that provides social workers to visit the mentally ill, ensure they take their medication, go to the doctor and have adequate housing, costs $35 a day. By comparison, it costs $121 a day to house a person with mental illness at the Broward County Jail. ….