Last Sunday’s Conversation focused on patient dumping and the psychiatric hospital in Las Vegas that discharged mentally ill patients to a Greyhound bus station with a one-way ticket out of Nevada. The Bee’s front-page story, “Mental patients bused – and crime followed,” looked at several patients who had committed crimes after being shipped all over the country. Dan Morain, in his column “A bus ride from Vegas to nowhere,” talked to one patient who ended up with a relative in the Mojave Desert town of Hesperia. He was one of the fortunate ones. We asked the question, “How should states provide better access to mental health treatment?”
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Bus tickets aren’t the problem
I commend The Sacramento Bee for shining light on local issues, but you’ve been unfair toward Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas. The cause of the problem isn’t giving bus tickets to the mentally ill. It’s that they were discharged in the first place.
True, some of those discharged from Rawson-Neal went out and stole cars or committed other serious crimes. But some discharges from our local psychiatric institutions have committed similar serious crimes.
Patients’ rights now trump public safety. Thus, those with serious mental illnesses are being released into our neighborhoods daily before they are ready. We’ve no right to shame Rawson-Neal because we are doing the same thing – just without the bonus of a bus
– Chris Smith, Rocklin
Phillip Morris – Approve of longer stays for the mentally ill in medical facilities and hospitals. … Seriously mentally ill people do not get stabilized in a two-week stay at the hospital. Patients may have to have multiple medications tried on them, and they need to be medically evaluated and cared for while the stabilization is taking place.
Jacqueline Naud – California should require every county to implement Laura’s Law and require that Prop. 63 funding be used to provide the required services.
Lisa Marie – Yes, as Jacqueline said. There’s tons of things you can do but they all require a lot of money. There needs to be follow-up/follow-through for caseworkers. There needs to be more caseworkers so that they’re not all bogged down with cases and people don’t slip through the cracks. … There needs to be better promotion of implementation of support services, and we need to bring back our state mental health system. If we do, we won’t be so overcrowded with prisoners, people would be getting the help they need, and there will be fewer homeless people out there on our streets.
Wendi Tanisha Miller – Bring back institutions.