February 26, 2016
Artistic view of how the world feels like with schizophrenia
Picture credit: Craig Finn (schizophrenia patient)
A story on our news this morning was impossible for me to ignore.
Many of you know that I was Nurse in California years ago, but what you may not know is where I worked and what I did there.
I have been blessed with a variety of wonderful occupations in my lifetime, but the one without a doubt that meant the most to me, were the 4 years I spent at a California Rehab Center.
My position was that of a Treatment Nurse to over 120 patients there.
Every day, the orderlies brought my patients to me in a little room off of the main corridor to receive their treatments, which varied from of wound care, eye and ear meds, and other, to be taken care of, some came several times during the day.
At noon we all went to the large dining area and with the assistance of four orderlies we watched over the patients while they ate.
Most days were without incident, but on several occasions there were outbursts and/or physical assaults between the patients.
On three separate occasions over my 4 years there, I was the victim of an assault.
The first two resulted in only minor injuries and no treatment was received, but by the third occasion, that changed.
A patient came up from behind me and slammed a lunch tray down very hard on my head, I went down.
I woke up in the ER and my husband was called to come after me.
On the drive home he was quite adamant and said, “you are all done there.”
It was the end.
Sadly I knew he was right, but I was very distressed about the care of my many patients.
At that time, I was the ONLY Nurse who went out onto the floor and had interaction with them.
The other Nurses were safely behind closed doors and out of harms way.
This was many years ago and my heart still hurts about the entire situation.
A few months later, this facility was closed by the state and the patients were all transferred to a larger one many miles away with a reputation for giving cold, clinical patient care.
The closing was not a complete surprise, there had been a lengthy list of problems and just before my final incident, I had taken a tray of food into the Director’s office and shown him a very large roach on a patients food.
His response was not one of outrage or concern, just basically a “what do you want me to do about it?”
Nothing changed, I left, it closed.
Now today, seeing this story on the News, it all came rushing back, as I watched in horror as this young woman was attacked in a similar facility here in Florida.
The outrage for me is this, why is Florida’s Mental Health Care spending/funding, at number 50 in America?
Do you have any idea how much money pours into this state from Tourism every day, every year?
It is likely the most of all the other 50 states combined.
Orlando, and Florida, are just about the most visited places in not only America, but likely the entire world by Tourists.
So why Governor Scott, is there no money for Mental Health Care Facilities?
This Governor is spending every minute of his time now, throwing a great deal of our money around, making himself look good for his run at the White House, right after he wins a Senatorial Seat here.
He travels all over this state bragging about all of the jobs he has created.
Yet while he is spending millions everywhere else here, the situation for the desperately ill here, goes not only unattended, but completely ignored.
No Governor Scott, they will not just go away.
They cannot, they have no where to go.
This problem is not just in Florida, sadly this ugly secret is Global.
No one wants to admit or accept the fact, that there are many mentally unstable and desperately needy people who are not getting the help they need.
And we have all witnessed the results in our News every day.
Too often, mass killings in schools or workplaces, have become ground zero for yet another person who did not get the help they needed.
In California and Connecticut, mental facilities are closing, or are already closed, patients are put out onto the streets at the mercy of their own mental disorders, left to fend for themselves, and of course, they fail.
We can’t keep looking away, we must put our money and our hearts into caring for this portion of our society who cannot help themselves, we must see that they get care.
Governor Scott, your failure to address this dark corner of our society can no longer be just your dirty little secret, it is out in the open now, we all know where OUR money is NOT going and you must do something to end this.
End the secrets, end their suffering, end their pain.
Places to learn more:
Insane. Invisible. In danger
9 Investigates state funding for mental health care
9 Investigates: Violence in state mental health hospitals
Mental Health Association of Central Florida
Florida in desperate need of effective mental health services