“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”—Neil Gaiman (via hipnerd63)
Nevada health officials are seeking to bolster psychiatric services for troubled people who might otherwise tax the resources of emergency rooms and prisons, by proposing a 24-hour urgent care center in Las Vegas for the mentally ill.
The $7.5 million plan would include a program to divert those suffering from mental health problems from jails lacking adequate care, in the hopes of reducing a cycle of incarceration.
In Carson City the percentage was nearly 23 percent.
In Clark County roughly 10 percent of the more than 55,000 people held in jail had a history of mental illness.
A draft report from last April by the Nevada State Office of Epidemiology, which analyzed the Washoe County detention center, said, “It appears jails and prisons have become our most enduring asylums.”
The report also stated that the number of mentally ill individuals detained in Clark County, in the state and the nation continues to grow. “This significant increase is attributed in most part to a severe lack in resources available for proper and timely case-management of such unfortunate chronically ill individuals,” it said.
The funding proposal was submitted to the governor’s office as an “item of special consideration” outside the Mental Health Division’s basic $294 million budget request.
Gov. Brian Sandoval will release his budget plan Jan. 16.
Prisons are the de facto holding institution for the mentally ill for the same reason that schools are pathetically underfunded in the U.S. but prisons aren’t. Americans would so much rather punish people for being poor and/or mentally ill than help them. Why else would we spend tens of thousands of dollars a year to incarcerate someone (and have the biggest percentage of our population in prison compared to every other country in the world), rather than the comparatively smaller cost to educate that person or provide them with effective mental health and substance abuse services? Maybe if we privatize and create a mental health industrial complex along the same lines as the prison industrial complex people will finally get the care they need. Sure, it’ll cost more than it should because you gotta line the corporate pockets this way, but again, that’s what Americans seem to prefer so why not.