Here's something to write about: BROKEN BRAINS
Too many individuals with brain disorders (panic attack, post traumatic stress syndrome, depression, bipolar behavior, schizophrenic episodes, etc.) are often taken to jail, rather than to a hospital. Most police officers, correctional employees, and parole and probation agents have not had training to deal with people who are not "normal." Even though the law assumes you are mentally competent to stand trial, the bar is set so low, that you can be mentally competent and mentally ill, at the same time.
What experiences have you had with loved ones or friends who were dragged off to courts and jails when what they really needed was help with mental issues? Was the JetBlue flight attendant having an episode when he launched the plane's slide to escape an insulting passenger? Have you ever suspected that someone you know needed mental health assistance?
Lois Fisher, chief attorney for the mental health division of Maryland's public defender's office told the Washington Post (January 29, 2007) that "There is no more expensive way to access the mental health system than through the court system." She says that the lack of prompt screening, referrals, and comprehensive care will "increase the likelihood that patients will wind up getting in trouble with the law"
Is that true? Is that really true? How do you know?
It's time to bring mental illness to the front burner and start talking about it out loud. One way to do that is to start writing and to share your stories.