[Hpn] SF mental health care called shameful
Mon, 18 Dec 2000 17:55:46 -0500
let me agree for once. i think it's shamefull that people depend on the
government people to maintain their mental health.what the hell do i think
they're going to do if i can't take care of myself. i'm crazy, if i think other
people can really make my life better if i'm crazy. now i happen to be on
record as not being crazy enough to be disabled in three states and the federal
system agrees. so i take care of myself. but then i'm not crazy.
chance martin wrote:
> San Francisco BAY VIEW
> December 13, 2000
> SF mental health care called shameful
> by Michael Lyon
> San Francisco - Tuesday1s Health Commission meeting was taken over by a
> militant, disciplined, and thoroughly inspiring demonstration by the
> Coalition on Homelessness, which demanded immediate mental health treatment
> for all requesting it, and an end to police abuse and murder of mental
> illness victims in crisis. It was a striking repudiation of the commission1s
> claim that the Department of Public Health emphasizes primary and
> preventative care.
> Over 100 COH members and supporters entered the auditorium mid-meeting and
> positioned themselves along the walls, singing 3On the __th day of Christmas
> the City gave to me2 - for example: a five-point restraint, ... three Mitch
> Cutz, ... And a Mayor who doesn1t give a damn!
> A speaker then blasted the commission for its part in the shocking state of
> mental health in the City and demanded action. Then voices cried out
> questions like, 3How many new cases of mental illness come to SFGH Psych
> Emergency?2 They were answered by other voices crying out, 3Three thousand
> per year!2
> 3How many people seeking treatment in San Francisco got it?2 3Less than 50
> percent!2 3How many homeless died in San Francisco last year?2 3One hundred
> eighty nine died, alone, on the streets!2
> Speeches were punctuated with choruses of 3Shame! Shame! Shame!2 with
> fingers pointing at the commission. At times, the floor shook with the
> stamping of feet.
> The commissioners mostly sat dispassionately with their hands folded in
> front of their faces, while Public Health Director Mitch Katz was on the
> phone summoning about a dozen police. The demonstration was militant enough
> that the Health Commission was unable to re-establish control, yet focused
> and disciplined enough that the City could not really say it was a riot.
> By maintaining this knife-edge balance, COH demonstrators were able to run
> the meeting for about 20 minutes and then file out with no arrests. After
> that, police cleared the room, and the commission adjourned for about 40
> As they left, COH demonstrators shouted 3We1ll be back!2
> A few facts on mental health in San Francisco from the COH:
> Last year, less than half of SF residents requesting and qualifying for
> mental health treatment got it.
> In the 00/01 budget year, instead of using City surplus money to fund SF
> General Hospital1s deficit, the City cut millions of dollars from
> anticipated revenues for community mental health services.
> This year in SF jails, 11 percent have persistent and severe mental
> illness, yet only 52 percent of assignments for mental illness have resulted
> in admissions into the system.
> Three thousand people with no previous contact with the mental health
> system enter SFGH Psychiatric Emergency Services per year.
> An estimated 2,000-2,700 parents on CAL-Works (welfare for families) and
> 4,000 individuals on County Adult Assistance need mental health treatment.
> Thirty to forty percent of San Francisco1s homeless are mentally ill,
> perhaps 5,600 people. Many are veterans. Only 5-15 percent of the mentally
> ill are sheltered. Between 1984 to 1996, over half of board and care
> facility beds were lost. Since 1993, the SF Police Department has issued
> 100,000 citations for 3while homeless2 offenses, such as sleeping, sitting
> and urinating in public.
> Statewide, San Francisco has the highest rate of 5150s (involuntary
> 72-hour detention for psychiatric evaluation), yet people released from SFGH
> Psych Emergency are often released to the streets because of limited
> capacity of Social Services and Mental Health services.
> One in four police calls in San Francisco involve people in psychiatric
> crises or 3acting with bizarre behavior.2 Last year the City funded a
> project to train all cops in safe and humane ways of responding to
> psychiatric crisis calls, which the SFPD has resisted, countering with a
> program half devoted to weapons training.
> 3Stolen Lives,2 by the October 22nd Coalition, documents five San
> Francisco residents in psychiatric crises who were shot or otherwise killed
> by SFPD in the last five years.
> Contact: Emergency Coalition to Save Public Health, (415) 540-3644, e-mail
> firstname.lastname@example.org, website www.sf-health.org/; Coalition on
> Homelessness website www.sfo.com/~coh/
> END FORWARD
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