Mental Illness Awareness Issues for 2012

nee-pix1loveThere are many disabled and mentally ill citizens that have had to live in these
so called group homes that have been around for years in Tucson.
And to be honest, they are not up to standard and run right. You have street people
and people just released from jail, or coming in off the streets into their “halfway house” mode.
Such people who shouldn’t be mixed with the disabled or mentally ill, are having to live
with these kinds of people, Yes, I know we all need a place to live. But, mixing all these
kinds of groups of people together is and has been a big problem, as we have heard and seen.

Problems like these are happening in Tucson:
1. Medications are being stolen and re-sold on the streets, leaving mentally ill people in psychoses, which is danger to self and to others. A police report has to be done and forwarded to patient’s doctors, to be able to get their medications refilled again. And the patient has to go without their medications for a few days, which causes them grief and suffering. And God help the mentally disabled to perform this process, or to get someone else to help them report and do all that. No family or friends ? No help. Can’t communicate well ? No help.

2. Money, clothing and food is stolen which is just not right. Street people are preying
on our vulnerable citizens. They are being taken advantage of, and pressured in so many ways, including receiving blows, or other violent attacks.

3. Intimidation against reporting problems. Over and over, these poor people are being
abused, and are afraid to say so. A lot of them are afraid while living in these group
homes, to the point of having to find another group home that is better. Then having to
depend on getting a good case worker to help get this done. The case workers rarely
visit a group home prior to placing a client there. So they get whatever they get.
Case workers are working for you, the taxpayer, by the way.

4. 2-3 meals a day is a best case. Its very sad when there’s not enough food to go around,
since those who get to the food first, leave none for those slower than themselves.
The home manager usually does not regulate the food to insure each gets fed properly. So some just go without dinner, day after day.

5. Rent around $600 per month including room and board (meals) is typical now, with
4-5 people in a room, or 2 to a room in a lucky case. Lucky too, if you get cable TV and warm water.

The better situations are when its known by group manager, that a friend or family member is checking on the person. Otherwise the abuse is much greater, and many managers are mentally ill clients themselves (no kidding !). Some have no transportation to get urgent needs met, and depend on a landlord of several group homes, to deliver food, or pickup medicine or personal items.

Tucson desperately needs more and better group homes now ! Group homes that are safe, clean and run right would offer our community a better way forward.

When there is no one left to care for them, or they are abused or ignored, we have
seen the horror stories, and our jails hold many of these people (for a while anyway)…

Eventually, our safety suffers, when those abused lash out, or come into contact
with the rest of us in a violent psychotic reponse.

Those in our government must take some responsibility, since they control zoning
which limits the housing options for larger groups of disabled americans.
The concept of a large group of unrelated people living together in a very large
home (greater than 5 bedrooms) is restricted, for no good reason.

As our mentally ill people are being released into Tucson, more and more without being
stabilized, psychotic behavior related problems will continue to increase
and shock our society here, and where ever else this problem continues
to be ignored.

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