ADULT CHILDREN MENTAL ILLNESS
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PARENTS HAVE NO RIGHTS - NO PROTECTION
In most cases mental illness manifests around 18-19 years of age. Behavior changes happen and many turn violent against their parents. Too many adult children with severe mental illness are residing with their parents or are totally dependent on them. What will happen when these parents die?
We are told these ill people are able to get help if they want to! What happens when their mind is not clear enough to get help? When their fears, panic attacks, phobias prevent them from getting the consistent help they need? If they were able to manage their recovery, would they not be able to manage their behavior and life? Many turn to drugs or drinking to self-medicate, and this contributes to their problem. Parents options are to call the police if there is a crisis, and it better be a big one with lots of evidence of destruction in order for them to go to the hospital in handcuffs (witch adds to their trauma). Parents live with constant abuse and terrible stress. We are told to evict our sick children, don’t give them any money and let them fend for themselves. Or press charges for the damage they do. The few parents that eventually find the courage to do this, find their children on the street, dealing drugs and stealing to survive. Some eventually get help when in trouble with the law and forced to counselling and treatment, some of them die of suicide or drug overdose.
Do you know even someone that has been diagnosed with something as serious as Schizophrenia is not monitored in any way? they can choose to take their medication or not and walk the street with nobody being able to help.
Do you know if your neighbor is suicidal and you constantly hear him raging and threatening people there is nothing you can do but call the police? And do you know he will be taken to the hospital and most likely released in a few hours? Do you know that people have been released from the hospital within 24 hours of an actual suicidal attempt?
It is NOT true that the only way they will heal is if they want the help themselves. They are humans suffering and when given a chance (even if mandatory) most of them appreciate the help.It gives them a chance to see the other side, to feel some release from the enormous pain they feel.
There are too many instances where a mental ill person is taken to a hospital for violent behavior and then released with absolutely no follow up. Even in cases where they are kept in the hospital for several days, doctors are aware of the damaged caused by their rages and how danger they are, and while in the hospital respond well to treatment, they are then released back to their parents who have NO RIGHT to even speak to the doctor and get any information on their illness.Parents (now broken elderly people) are not allowed to know what the diagnosis is, what medications they should be taking, even after they are taken to the hospital and detained. They have no-one to call when episodes start up again, and the violence gets worse.
Going to many support groups myself, I find most parents have PTSD and are on medications due to the stress, and their only option is to continue to get support and learn how to behave around mental illness. This becomes their life, as other friends and family distance themselves as this is too stressful to live with. We are just parents, not medical staff, not authority figures. Even if we learn how to deal with mental illness, we cannot help our children and eventually we break. (and at this point we are called enablers)
This is happening everywhere. I personally know 10 families that are going through this.
Police stop responding after a while, or they show up and say there is nothing they can do. When my story started 10 years ago, I was calling the police all the time, with the assumption that my child would be taken to the hospital and get help. He was taken to the hospital several times, even detained, responded well to professional counselling and doctors, but then released with the responsibility to follow through for himself. If his brain was working well enough to do this, there wouldn’t be much of a problem.
THIS HAS DESTROYED MY FAMILY
WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN:
- When there is evidence of extreme behavior due to mental illness, there needs to be a system in place where counselling is mandatory, where follow up visits to the doctors are mandatory. If the patient doesn't show up for an appointment he is most likely not doing well and needs to be reassessed. When my son is not well he cannot even answer a call from his best friend.
- Care givers need to be aware of the condition, medications and treatment. (If your child is diabetic, you would be involved in the medications and treatment) Parents need protection and need to have someone they can call when things get dangerous. Often there are other siblings or young children in the family.The violence is usually directed at the parents.
- People living on their own, that have been taken to the hospital with evidence of violent behavior, need a regular follow up. This does not just go away. The parents cannot be the only one to care. Many people with sever mental illness respond well to counseling when forced to go. This would avoid getting in trouble with the law before getting help, tragedies, overload of police calls for mental illness issues, overload of parents requiring medical assistance due to stress and would avoid the inevitable big issue of mental illness on the streets when these parents die.
A note from my therapist:
"As a therapist trying to support my client I wholeheartedly support her petition. I am discouraged by the lack of leadership from our health care system to fully assess, treat, and monitor those people with serious mental health issues who are not able to advocate for themselves. I have witnessed this scenario so many times in my counselling practice, where the psychiatric ward of a hospital is a revolving door for mentally ill people- they are admitted many times but are released too quickly, without the proper support system and monitoring that is needed. This creates so much stress for parents, who don’t know where to turn for help. It is also hard on therapists who need the support of psychiatric professionals to properly treat very ill patients. There is often no consultation with family members, other caregivers and mental health professionals involved with the client, which should be standard practice. I have witnessed patients being discharged from hospital because they were deemed to not be suicidal by hospital staff and then kill themselves the next day. Changes are necessary if we want to prevent more deaths."
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