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.

Immoral Activity at Catholic Hospitals

nee-pix2The newspaper of the Catholic Bishop Thomas Olmstead in Phoenix, AZ, the Catholic Sun reported today that San Francisco based Catholic Healthcare West (CHW) hospitals in the Phoenix area, including St. Joseph’s Hospital are not really Catholic, and that prolifers and Christians should beware of the actions being taken at these facilities against Christian morality.

We are waiting comment from Tucson Bishop Kicanis regarding also condemning CHW hospitals in Tucson which include St. Joseph’s, St. Mary’s, Tucson Heart Hospital and others.

Bishop Olmstead also revealed that Mercy Care, the Arizona Medicaid AHCCCS contractor is also responsible for these same activities, and is Arizona taxpayer funded.

The report said:

“Through its involvement in the Mercy Care Plan, the bishop said CHW has been responsible for a litany of practices in direct conflict with Catholic teaching. These include: contraceptive counseling, provision of various forms of contraception, voluntary sterilization, and abortions “. This includes abortifacient birth control pills linked to breast cancer. This includes abortion pills, also known as “Morning After” pills that kill babies. The pain experienced by babies in the womb is well documented.

Governor Jan Brewer, a prolifer, may well see these as prime targets for AHCCCS funding cuts, since the prolife voting majority in Arizona does not want to fund these immoral actions.

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: KVOA.com, 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
jedgin@email.arizona.edu.