Journalist Sydney J. Harris said “Once we assuage our conscience by calling something a ‘necessary evil,’ it begins to look more and more necessary and less and less evil.” I think that may be where we’re at with psychotropic medications for depression.
I have a distant memory of a scene from The Buddy Holly Story in which (as I recall) his father is berating Buddy for wasting his time playing “that… that… that Jungle music.” I probably remember the line because of my realization that “Jungle” was a euphemism for a word we still don’t use, but the message to the audience was clear: Dad was out of touch with a music genre that would soon revolutionize popular art and define a generation.
|People keep asking me why the Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Behavioral Health Services (to spare my fingers, hereinafter known as DBHS) is dismantling effective community programs in favor of a monolithic county bureaucracy. Lately, attention has also turned to the Sacramento County Mental Health Treatment Center, affectionately known as SCMHTC, or “schmick,” and why the county keeps paying for this dinosaur rather than replacing it with Medi-Cal funded Psychiatric Health Facilities (PHFs). Earlier today, I found myself answering the question in an email to a prominent mental health activist, and thought it would save a lot of time and trouble to just post it publicly. So here’s my take on why DBHS keeps insisting on spending more money to provide less service.|
On 26Mar2010, at 15:54,
I’ve specifically been praying for $1M for TCORE. Is that about right?
Understand that I have no inside knowledge of the budget of TCORE, DBHS, or the RSTs. I’m going by things I’ve heard, so these numbers might be wildly wrong. On the other hand, after 13 years in this system…
José is not a poster person. He’s not a starving doe-eyed child. He isn’t a struggling single mother. He isn’t bravely fighting cancer. He hasn’t risen to national prominence despite humble beginnings and devastating misfortune. He’s 45. He is Mexican. His face is weathered from too much time in the sun. He is obese from too much of a gringo diet. He has bipolar disorder, and does not really understand his disease. He speaks very little English. His hands are large and roughened from so much real work. And he is undocumented.
I recently attended a rally protesting cuts to health care for the mentally ill here in Sacramento. The Sacramento Bee covered the rally, and one of the first user comments on the web page accused the protesters of “feeding at the public trough.” At first I was indignant but, you know, I can understand the reader’s anger and frustration. Looking through the short article, several interesting facts emerge. Please try to bear with me as I attempt some arithmetic:
I recently received a communiqué from a physician asserting that the “AAP [American Academy of Pediatrics] recommends no more than one hour each day of screen time.” This immediately raised my hackles on several levels, beginning with the implied criticism that I was not being a responsible parent. (Parents out there, raise your hands: how many of you limit your children’s total time watching television and using video games, computers, handheld games, or cell phones to less than one hour per day? Every day? Be honest! Include time the child spends in others’ care, including school. Are you sure? Do you know how to program your television’s V-Chip? I don’t see many hands out there. The rest of you must be BAD PARENTS.)
I recently dipped a toe into the murky waters of politics. It’s not my gift. Continue reading All Compassion is Local