Top 8 Mental Illness Awareness areas (2009)


Top 8 Mental Illness Awareness areas:

1. Funding of prisons is much more costly than funding housing and therapy programs. We need to help these human beings before they wind up in trouble.
2. Many more caring people are needed for these jobs: case managers, group home managers/couples/teams, drivers, doctors, nurses, therapists, etc.
3. The impact of new medicines is phenomenal, these allow patients to come back to reality, and avoid psychotic acts.
4. Doctors and nurses need to gain awareness of the importance of improving communications with those intimately familiar with the patients, especially family members. Sometimes these poor ones cannot speak for themselves, or are in denial.
5. The need to create care options for mentally ill persons with no family left to look after them.
6. Teachers must be better informed to identify early signs of mental illness, and to stop persecution and stigma.
7. Better understanding of the feelings of mentally ill people is needed. Anyone can send stigma/persecution reports to Stella March at the NAMI address below.
8. Advocates are needed for reform of the mental health system, especially problem facilities lacking best practices, especially those without policies and procedures.

NAMI is the largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected  by mental illness. NAMI offers tools for grassroots action.

National Alliance on Mental Illness
3803 N. Fairfax Dr. Suite 100
Arlington, VA 22203

Toll free: (800)626-5022

Source: NAMI StigmaBuster Alert: September 22, 2009

Dental Care Needed for Mentally Ill

nee-new2In Tucson, many special needs “young and old kids” have had practically no dental care
for years. This is a urgent call to anyone to share with us, how to get your special needs loved one to agree to go to the dentist, for just routine visits (exam and X-rays are free here in Tucson – one per person).

Please email us, and we will publish your tips to help others, before its too late, and they get false teeth or worse at half the normal age.

Routine visits (dental exam once per year, cleanings once or twice per year) are proven
to reduce dental problems such as painful, expensive emergency work. Mentally ill people
cannot communicate well in such situations, and could become very difficult to deal
with. Let’s not allow this situation to deteriorate any further, share your ideas, which
are sorely needed (thanks guys).

Some causes of psychosis can be traced to painful dental
conditions, and so affect general public safety, since violent, manic or even paranoid psychosis and depression are problems that seems to be surfacing all too frequently in this town. Ask your local Pima county library staff downtown, who deal with many homeless mentally ill people of all ages day after day, its way out of hand.

Its sad to see their teeth in advanced decay when they smile, further reducing their ability to recover and relate to others, accept potential employment, and so on.  Or else it adds to our jail funding health costs, since many mentally ill homeless are shuffled in and out of the systems, which are already overwhelmed.

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.

Caregiver Improvements Needed in Tucson

article16Caregivers need to treat disabled with some dignity in Tucson.

Disabled mentally challenged patients need extra attention
from Tucson doctors and other health professionals.

In Tucson now, its hard for many mentally disabled children
and adults to even get to the caregivers, period.

When they finally get lucky enough to get transported to a doctors or dentists
office, usually a free clinic like El Rio (thanks guys !)
the real challenge just begins, which can affect the future
history of the patient ever going to a doctor again,
let alone really improve long term health problems they may have.

Communications with someone like this, who has no relatives present
is almost impossible, unless the caregiver at least
knows how to spot and recognize the person is mentally disabled,
and, if the patient is frightened, they can minimize necessary communications.
Nothing gets discussed, let alone solved.

This is time for the caregiver to contact a person who knows
the patient, for example a family member, group home manager,
mental health crisis personnel (eg. SAMHC), or anyone who has
had contact with the patient (even police escorts).

Unfortunately, the family members, when they are present with the patient
at the clinic, hospital or other care facility, are ignored, or not taken
seriously. The new CRC (Crisis Response Center) at UMC South (Kino) ignores
remote family communications (eg. phone calls and faxes), and “loses” patients.)

Our humanity means we care, how can we show we care, and fulfil
the doctor’s hypocratic oath, if the situation is rushed,
and treatment not done in a thoughtful manner, and at least
try our best to provide needed treatment and summary information to
other caregivers, eg. even just a note to the persons caring
for the patient, and hopefully the patient’s case manager.

The treatment of mentally challenged loved ones, must consider
the long term future, and whether the person has been treated with
fairness, and patience, in a manner that they will want to return
to the treatment settings, office, hospital emergency rooms
urgent care centers, etc.

Currently in Tucson, this is not happening as the normal thing, but is the
rare exception, lets congratulate and praise those trying their
best, and encourage all to resolve to address the special needs
of these patients, our loved ones.

Listening and taking notes is not just professional, its required
as competent care. Bad record keeping is very common, and getting
copies of records is problematic.

When we all encourage those involved to take an extra minute or
two to do the job right, and treat these people as “customers that come first”, then
mutual respect and trust can happen.

Those that love their adversaries are wise since converting an adversary
to a friend is challenging, but very worthwhile.

Again thanks to those who care. God bless those you love and those you don’t !

Mental Illness Awareness Issues for 2011

acollier-article12Thanks to all who have chosen the mental health profession, and all caregivers for doing so much to improve the safety and welfare of society in general. This is crucial for our safety.

Its apparent that the following issues will support the mentally ill and society in dealing with this crisis.

Thanks also to law enforcement who are housing the mentally ill in the jails, and who
are the current safety net. Your voices are being heard about jailing the mentally ill, the needless violence, and the daily red flags of people in psychosis. You are speaking in the news about prevention, and the costs of ignoring this continuing problem.

Finally, comparing our list of the past two years, many issues are now addressed, so progress is being made by our Tucson families.

And so here are our list of mental illness awareness issues for 2011.

2011 Mental Illness Awareness Issues

1. Unlicensed group homes conditions are generally unhealthy, need regular oversight and inspections by case managers and CPSA (taxpayer funded management for this). We are all paying for this, and this is the single largest problem area. Thanks to the few good homes out there.

2. Need for new housing solution for mentally ill. When they can pool their disability checks, they can afford to live in a mansion and hire security, nursing, and caregivers. This is currently stymied by Pima county zoning rules, and will require state of Arizona legislation to allow this to happen.

3. Food stamps are available for the mentally ill, about $26 per week. Case managers should help them to apply. Group homes are on a low food budget, and the patients are spending their few extra dollars for food. Group home managers should consider helping the mentally ill clients get food stamps to supplement the food situation.

4. Family members are being blown off by doctors. The mentally ill cannot express themselves well, and when family is trying to reach a doctor to provide the information, doctors refuse to return calls, and then can make serious mistakes not knowing medication allergies etc. This has been a problem for years in Tucson, especially at hospitals.

5. Day labor is available for the mentally ill, even those with criminal records. The clients need to have someone organize to get them to the day labor locations early around 5:30am to get work for a day.

6. Patient advocates are available to resolve complaints at the hospitals, and should be contacted when care is lacking in quality. No one should be left in pain, that is per US government guidelines.

7. Mobile meals of Tucson needs volunteers.

8. Nightly bed bug checks at all facilities is now recommended, the problem is spreading in Tucson group homes, and other facilities used by clients.

9. You can choose your destination hospital, its not up to the ambulance driver !

10. There are no good functioning psychiatric wards in Tucson hospitals, and no place to detox in a safe way. TMC has a cold turkey room with very poor supervision. Stay away ! The best is Kino, but they have communication problems.

11. SAMHC (Phone 520-622-6000) is the best 24 hour help system, but sometimes you can get an inexperienced helper, if so, ask for a manager and dont give up ! They will get help to pickup your loved one with or without police, just be prepared to explain the danger to self or others by making a list of what the mentally ill client is doing out of normal, or if they have stopped taking their medications.

12. Payees scandal – Tucson court case ongoing where disability check payees were stealing from clients. Suggest case managers check that payees are paying clients utility bills.

13. Group homes need to run police checks on all tenants before allowing them to come in. Until this is done, there is a dangerous situation with sexual assaults, thefts, and fugitives.

14. Computer games are increasing violence and worsening mental illness. Same for loud music in sub woofers. Sony announced warnings of seizures when playing their games. Nintendo warned in 12/2010 that young children can get eyesight damage when playing their handheld games.

15. Some group homes only have one manager 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. A minimum of two managers are needed to provide time off. Until then, there is unsupervised time when the manager just takes off. This is dangerous, since clients with active psychosis are being released to these group homes.

16. Group homes should provide some medication oversight-checking to monitor that medications are being taken, and report to case managers when clients are refusing medications, before danger happens.

17. Prayers and actions are working in Tucson ! Thanks guys, you are giving gifts of love.

AZ Media Programs on Releasing Mentally Ill Prisoners

acollier-article10Frontline:The Released schedule for Tucson channel 6 PBS

Each year, hundreds of thousands of prisoners with serious mental illnesses will be released into communities across America, the largest exodus in the nation’s history. Typically, mentally ill offenders leave prison with a bus ticket, $75 and two weeks worth of medication. Within 18 months, nearly two-thirds are re-arrested. In this follow up to the film “The New Asylums,” FRONTLINE examines what happens to the mentally ill when they leave prison and why they return at such alarming rates. The stories of the released — along with interviews with parole officers, social workers, and psychiatrists — provide a rare look at the lives of the mentally ill as they struggle to stay out of prison and reintegrate into society.

Credit: Arizona Public Media Schedule
When to Watch

* 12/7/2010 10 p.m. on PBS HD
* 12/8/2010 3 a.m. on PBS HD
* 12/10/2010 7 p.m. on PBS World

Good Mansion Alternative

acollier-article9Billionaire Bill Gates and his wife Melinda have formed the famous Gates Foundation
as a way to help those in critical need. The Gates Foundation has asked the public
to submit ideas/dreams for them to consider in their mission to help solve society’s problems.

So, I have submitted the following idea, which we call the “Good Mansion”,
since disabled adults can afford to live in a real mansion by pooling their money,
and then also can hire full time nursing, part time doctors, and other staff.

From my letter to :


We heard that you wanted to hear some good ideas.

See our article on what is wrong with Group Homes now.

The Answer
We would like to see the mentally ill now living in very small Group Homes,
pool their Social Security Disability (SSA, SSI) monthly checks into having larger homes of 50-100 people where their monthly checks combine to get them full time nursing, doctors/dentists visits weekly, and much better living conditions.

The disabled mentally ill, when stabilized on their medicines are released
into the community to these unlicensed group homes, serving maybe 4-8 people
in each home, and making a profit for the landlords.

Unfortunately, when these patients, who get around $674 per month maximum,
pool their money, they could get much better results than the problems
found in the report we wrote for quoted above .

1. 674/month times 100 people = $67,400.00 per month available for living.
2. 674/month times 50 people = $33,700.00 per month available for living.

So there is plenty of money to obtain a great standard of living
and reduce how many mentally ill people wind up in prison, costing
us all, when they wander away from the groups homes now, due to very poor conditions.

Please consider this idea to help these poor people, just by pooling their own money and
living in larger homes etc. with better staff, adequate food, and a decent life.

Someone just needs to organize this by obtaining/cosigning for the buildings, hiring the staff, and
these disabled people will come, they are all very unhappy with the current situation, as reported in my article.

Thanks for your time.

———— end of letter to Gates Foundation, sent 11-20-2010 ——————

Please spread the word to pray for this dream plan to move forward,
here is a list of benefits that could be obtained through this program called the

Good Mansion:

1. Reduced need for prison space for the mentally disabled.

2. New jobs for the public ! The Good Mansions will need management, nursing, and other staff.

3. Improved living conditions and improved benefits for the recipients of tax dollars for the disabled. The money is better spent as intended, with less going to third party landlords.

4. A solution for families that want long term safety for their loved ones, especially after the families are no longer alive or well enough to care for their disabled family members and friends.

5. Improve public safety by replacing unlicensed group homes with a secure place where the mentally disabled are not allowed to wander off into the community without supervision, as they do now, causing danger to self and to others.

6. Opportunity for researchers to study or live in this situation for identifying what works, social benefits and cures.

Scope Ripoff

Three people have been indicted for defrauding over 750 elderly and disabled Tucson people while operating a representative payee business; they are also accused of embezzling money from the accounts of the recently deceased.

The Attorney General’s Office says Robert Lee Skaggs, 57, Jo Ann Skaggs, 53, and Ray T. Skaggs, 41 have been charged with Conspiracy, Mail Fraud, theft and Embezzlement of Social Security Funds by a federal grand jury in Tucson.

The indictment alleges that the Robert Lee Skaggs was the owner of Scope Payee Services, which misused over $5 million of beneficiary funds and created a variety of false documents to hide the misuse. Jo Ann Skaggs and Ray T. Skaggs allegedly worked as payee coordinators.

The Attorney General’s Office also accuses the three of embezzling money from accounts of people who died while Scope was their representative payee.

“Over 750 elderly and disabled people relied upon the business operated by the Defendants to act as their representative payee, to hold their money in trust,” says United States Attorney Dennis K. Burke. “The alleged misuse of these funds resulted in losses of over 1.3 million dollars from people who were among the most vulnerable in our society.”

If convicted, the defendants could face up to 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine. The three are scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court on Nov. 5.

Source:, Tucson Channel 4, NBC Television Affiliate

Credit to: Arizona Daily Star who first broke this story.

Social security recipients are now in big trouble. One mentally ill person owes over $1200 to Cox cable since Scope did not pay his bills. Will these companies step up and help ?

Downs Study at U of AZ

nee-acdcDown syndrome study in Tucson at University of AZ
The Psychology Department at the University of Arizona is looking for volunteers on a study on Down Syndrome. Participants will be compensated for their time. If your child has been diagnosed with Down syndrome and is between 7 and 18 years of age, and you would like to obtain more information about the study, please contact us at 520-626-0244 or write us an email at

Group Homes in Tucson


It is a shame what is going on with Tucson’s so called “unlicensed Group Homes”.

Some homes are much better than others, thanks to those who care.

Try to avoid the others who don’t care !

Here is the list of what we found wrong in the 2008-2010 timeframe:

1.    Not clean, unsanitary conditions. Even dishes for eating are not clean. The patients are required
to clean up, which is usually not good enough, even when they try hard. They are mentally ill !

2.    Not fed enough. Even though they say 3 meals a day, not true ! Patients buy their own food
to eat enough.

3.    Rent is too high, usually $500-525 per month for room and board. The maximum income these patients have is $674 on Social security disability, many get even less to live on. No one advocates to get them their full amount, which is sometimes denied at the initial SSI process.

4.    No hot water !

5.    No toilet paper or napkins.

6.    Coed homes, where improper behavior between patients happens, even though against the rules.

7.    24 hour supervision is promised, but doesn’t always happen. These patients can have a psychotic relapse, and so must be monitored, and safety must be maintained for all the patients at the group home in event of problems.

8.    Patients are largely ignored, their needs are not met as human beings. No one checks on them
at least weekly, in order to make appointments for their medical and dental needs. No one asks
them if they need something, which they could get with their own money, eg. toiletries, deodorant, etc.

9.    No published rules. Verbal rules are ignored. Safety is reduced.

10.    Stealing is going on from mentally disabled, cigs, clothes, food, personals. Walmart sells lock boxes and a couple locks for around $20. It’s worth it.

11.    Paroled drug offenders (street people) are being housed with the mentally ill patients, and are taking advantage of them, “borrowing money” and other stealing.

12.    Alcoholic beverages sometimes are given to the mentally ill.

13.    Good living skills are not taught. Bad living skills are not always dealt with.

14.    The mentally challenged are being made fun of.

15.    The patients are threatened, in order to get money, meds, clothing, and personal items. Or they are just taken from them in a confrontational bullying style.

16.    Sheets, pillows, and blankets were not available for the beds, only bed covers.

17.    No rides provided. No assistance to get a ride provided.

18.    Some doctors and nurses don’t know enough about mentally disabled patients, so they are of minimal or no help for these patients who have trouble communicating. No one helps them to write down their needs, or be there for support, to get the help needed. Group home supervision is completely absent for these needs, or to even call someone for assistance.
When a patient relapses into psychosis (DANGER), some group homes take no action to call SAMHC at 520-622-6000 for help to get the patient into emergency free treatment.

19.    CPSA group home grievance procedures are a joke, although they will write warning letters to the homes. Copies of notes of verbal reports were not provided. Sexual abuse report ignored. Police reports of hospital abuse were ignored. All these were ignored by the CEO.

20.     Safety of patients not handled well by case management, with some exceptions. So don’t count on them to help with group home conditions.

21. Bed bugs !

Finally, these mentally disabled patients could use a Buddy, you ! Contact Tucson NAMI at 520-622-5582 to join their buddy program to check on these people, at least once per week for a phone call, and maybe a monthly in-person visit.

The mentally disabled need your help ! The above conditions are happening to them now. It’s discouraging to their spirits, and reduces effectiveness of treatment. The impact to society comes when they just give up, and stop taking their meds, and become a danger to self or others. Then they become at risk for going to prison. Our prisons have many mentally ill brothers and sisters there who may not have been dangerous if only they stayed on their meds (medicines). Please, let’s care more for each other, we need it !