Mental Health Care Reform
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Before you read my Son's story here are my objectives:
1. Revise 5150 criteria- most severely mentally ill who need emergency treatment and hospitalization know how to answer the questions to avoid psychiatric holds: "Are you a danger to self? Are you a danger to others? Are you able to met your basic needs (food, clothing and shelter)? All 3 of these criteria of the LPS Act were implemented to restore individual liberties, but only resulted in a system that fails to properly address the most seriously mentally ill individuals in our society, the Act allows judges to override psychiatric holds place by treating psychiatrists. Judges are releasing vulnerable severely impaired mentally ill individuals who are unable to care for themselves to the streets. The Act closed mental hospitals sending severely mentally ill individuals to jails, prisons and the streets homeless, and allows the Social Security Administration to allow individuals to remove a payee put in place by a treating psychiatrist that was meant to protect severely mentally ill individuals.
2. Judges should not be able to soley override a psychiatrist recommendations for hospitalization
3. The Social Security Administration should not have the power to remove a payee that was recommended by the patients current treating psychiatrist.
This decision made to implement a payee by the psychiatrist is for the patients own protection due to their diagnosis and severity of symptoms they are experiencing during the duration of time a payee is put in place.
Due to severity of impairment a patient will display a lack of judgement and lack of insight. Patients displaying symptoms of psychosis, coupled with substance abuse is also a determining factor. Granting a patient in such condition access to large amounts of money is putting the patient at risk of harm and death.
SSA should not have the ability to approve the removal of a payee based on any interview of the patient conducted by an SSA employee, the decision should only be determined by the treating psychiatrist for the patients own safety.
4. Reopen inpatient mental health hospitals. This petition does not intend to take away clients rights but to help mental health patients when they do not have insight to help themselves due to psychosis and substance abuse and other impairing symptoms.
My Son Dajon had no criminal record however the current crisis facing the homeless population includes the mentally ill with dual diagnoses and substance abuse.
Let's help our mentally ill population (some of which are our veterans) stabilize instead of standing by as they cycle in and out of the California prison systems and psychiatric facilities without true stabilization to live on the streets because judges have been given the authority to make these decisions. Let's rehabilitate before they decompensate, become homeless and die on the streets or to suicide like my Beloved Son Dajon
My Son's story:
My Son 24 years old, had dual diagnoses died July 27, 2019 less than 9 months after a judge released him from a temporary LPS conservatorship, going against psychiatric recommendations to keep him hospitalized for an additional 6 to 9 months in an impatient psychiatric facility.
On 7/6/2018 my Son Dajon Reed was admitted on temp LPS conservatorship in a psychiatric facility. He was extremely gravely disabled unable to care for himself. He had a long standing history of mental illness that began at age 16 with depression, then within 2 years diagnosed with schizophrenia and a dual diagnoses with substance abuse.
I fought a long hard battle to save his life and it's not just the judge that's a problem it is the entire system, the California mental health care laws and mental health services offered all need to be reformed now
On 9/21/2018 my Son Dajon was released based soley on Fresno Superior Judge's decision despite psychiatrist recommendations to keep him.
My son was considered homeless because he lost his housing after he became hospitalized but he told the judge he would stay at the mission and the judge was satisfied with this, along with a referral to outpatient treatment.
No one ever contacted me to create a safety plan and being that psychiatrist recommendations were he needed to stay in the hospital 6 to 9 months longer (not to include the 2 months he spent on temporary LPS conservatorship) one would think a safety plan warranted such actions at bare minimum.
After his release I found my son housing but he was constantly at risk of eviction due to his mental health symptoms. I wasn't able to keep him compliant with his medication, he was completely mentally unstable and severely symptomatic, truly gravely disabled and a danger to himself. My son suffered from Anosognosia, a symptom in which he greatly lacked insight into the severity of his illness and was refusing medication and treatment.
My son regularly had complaints from other residents where he lived because he was seen running outside naked or running outside screaming. I was told my son was disturbing the quiet enjoyment of the other residents and if this continued he would be evicted. Many times my son was combative with me, trying to get him to comply for his safety was extremely difficult.
The judge released my son because he "presented well during court. "
Anyone in the mental health field can tell you many patients can present well for a few minutes to get what they want and can still be very ill and unstable, and a risk to themselves and others.
During the 1st week of his release from the hospital he was 5150'd three times.
Prior to the LPS temporary hold, I also went thru Probate Court in an attempt to get my Son the help he needed but his mental health provider at the time in spite of the following would not sign the document:
-His inability to keep housing, prior to his LPS hold my son was getting evicted, he was crying, screaming yelling through the house where he rented a room, leaving the stove on, leaving the front door open, not eating, not sleeping, walking into the street in front of cars, constantly putting himself at risk of being hurt
-His inability to put food up (refrigeration) even when it was purchased and brought to him it would sit on the floor and spoil as he refused to let me in to help him put groceries up
-His inability to take medication as prescribed due to the severity of symptoms he was experiencing and substance abuse.
My son's Treating Psychiatrist at the time despite his condition would not sign the medical authorization documents for Probate Conservatorship so I could get the power to get him medical treatment he so desperately needed. I spent over $15,000 attorney fees and came out of court with probate conservatorship of the person only. Which is nothing. I could say where he could live. That's it.
After my Son was released he was then able to get his SSI payee removed even though my Son's new Treating Psychiatrist wrote a letter to SSI stating my son had addictions issues and was severely mentally ill, unstable and symptomatic and should not be his own payee.
I went to SSI with this letter, spoke to supervisors on 3 different occasions asking why they would go against psychiatrist recommendations explaining the risk, the answer given to me was "because we have that right."
During the time he was alive behavioral health services provided to my Son were very minimal and I as his parent greatly lacked the support I needed to help my Son. I was on my own.
Not even 9 months after his release July 27, 2019 my beloved Son died on a train track at 4am. He was praying the conductor said and he would not move as they blew the horn.
I have all the documentation.
Our Mental Health Care System/LPS laws are broken and need to be Reformed. A system needs to be in place in which only treating psychiatrists determine who needs hospitalization and who should be released on LPS temporary and permanent LPS conservatorships not soley decided by judicial review.
The Social Security Administration should not have the power to remove a payee that has been put in place for an individual's protection due to mental health diagnoses, and substance abuse issues for the duration of time specified by the patients treating psychiatrist.
SSA should not have the ability to remove a payee based on any interview conducted by SSA employees but should be determined soley by the patients treating psychiatrist.
More mental hospitals need to be reopened.
5150 criteria needs to be reviewed and revised to bring more clarification and metrics in place. Many who are diagnosed with severe mental illness can present well for minutes at a time and are well versed on how to answer the questions "Are you a going to hurt yourself? Are you going to hurt someone else? Can you take care of your basic needs, food, clothing and shelter?
Mental health patients who frequent the few psych hospitals that remain open and community hospitals know how to answer these questions and still can be and most likely are a danger to themselves and/or danger to others and/or gravely disabled and unable to care for themselves but because they know how to answer correctly these questions they are released.
The process on which mental health holds are placed are ultimately determined soley by a judge and the series of holds that follow the initial hold regardless of what the psychiatrist recommends, the judge soley decides. This should not be. Treating psychiatrists recommendations must be considered in the final determinations of who should stay and who is released.
I hope you choose to sign and share his story and bring awareness to the mental health care reform that is so desperately needed in California specifically. Laws vary state to state.
Patients have so many rights to make life decisions even when they are severely mentally impaired, lack insight and are extremely symptomatic, putting them at risk and in danger of losing their life.
Patients are released from psychiatric treatment facilities where they are safe even when they clearly meet criteria for hospitalization by psychiatrists, and even when the patient is clearly unable to make decisions that are in their best interest for their own safety and well-being making them a vulnerable population.
During temporary LPS conservatorships, the due process in a court of law require patients be given an attorney to help them get released and that is solely the job of the attorney assigned to your loved one.
The reality is this: it doesn't matter to the attorney if it is truly in the patients best interest to remain hospitalized due to the severity of symptoms and impairments and it doesn't matter to the attorney if the patient truly cannot take care of themselves. The attorney's job is to get them released and that's all they care about.
Judges are overriding psychiatrists recommendations every day without valid safety plans and many are suffering, families feel helpless and their loved ones are dying
Social Security Administration are making their own decisions that override psychiatrists, allowing patients with substance abuse and severe mental health diagnoses that are unstable and severely impaired to become their own payee against psychiatric recommendations.
Psychiatric treatment facilities are forced by judges to release patients that are severe, patients that are not well enough to be released, are released and have not been medically cleared by psychiatrist's.
I believe my son would be here today had they kept him and gave him the treatment he needed.
My Beloved Son Dajon is gone but I'm fighting for every parent and child out there suffering the way my Son and I suffered, as I continue to suffer in my Beloved Son Dajon's absence
Help me fight for change by signing and sharing this petition
Michelle Reed mother of my Beloved Son Dajon Reed
Contact info MHRministries@gmail.com or 559- 385-7688
ABC30 News covered his story
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