Lack of US Hospital Beds for the Mentally Ill Leading to the Deaths of Thousands

Lack of US Hospital Beds for the Mentally Ill Leading to the Deaths of Thousands

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Charlotte Yih started this petition to NYC Health + Hospitals and

Instead of receiving medical help, nearly two million mentally ill individuals are arrested and jailed each year. More often than not, correctional facilities don't provide proper treatment for mental health, and the conditions of mentally ill persons only worsen during their time in jail. 

24 year old Jamycheal Mitchell suffered from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and had not been taking his schizophrenia medication when he stole $5 worth of snacks from a 7-Eleven that he wrongly believed to be a relatives store. After his arrest, a judge ordered him to go to a psychiatric hospital, but there were no available hospital beds, forcing him to stay in jail for months as he waited for a spot. Over those couple of months, Mitchell refused to eat and take his medication, and grew increasingly erratic. Other inmates said that he would smear his own feces on the wall and walk around naked, muttering incomprehensible words to himself. Four months later he was found dead in his jail cell, covered in his own filth.

This is only one out of the many cases in which the unavailability of state hospital beds has had fatal consequences. It is far too common that mentally ill individuals are kept for weeks, months, and in some cases, years, in jail for even the smallest of crimes, desperately waiting for an open hospital bed as their own conditions spiral downwards. 

Maybe we can't solve the jailing problems yet, but we can help with the hospital bed shortage. Sign and share this petition to aid in the push for hospitals in the United States to give the mentally ill a chance at both better treatment and a better life.

 

If you'd like to learn more, please visit these websites:

Inside a Mental Hospital Called Jail

Man accused of stealing $5 in snacks died in jail as he waited for space at mental hospital

Going, Going, Gone

abedinstead

Jailing People with Mental Illness

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