From the start, DJ Jaffe points out that his book, ‘Insane Consequences’, is not about mental conditions but about how the USA tackles or rather doesn’t tackle its most extremely disturbed citizens. The sub-title, ‘How The Mental Health Industry Fails The Mentally Ill’ tells it all. It doesn’t! That is, the mental health industry fails abominably as Jaffe points out.
Jaffe throws the statistics of how many of the really serious mentally ill people are loose in America, not to mention how they have reduced the number of beds available for them so they aren’t treated or if they are, put back on the streets as quickly as possible. Considering how many of these people go on the rampage and killing people before killing themselves, you would think the lessons would be sinking in by now. Oddly and contradictory, mental health has been given enough money, $238 billion right now but it’s just not directed in the right places. You’ll read this book and wonder at the, I was going to say, insanity of what is going on here and if you’re American, I would certainly be angry. Jaffe does give examples from other parts of the world and the USA does pretty poor in comparison.
Essentially, from the start, Jaffe points out that the people who are focused on are those who are higher functioning who will seek out help than those who are incapable of it but are brought in, often by, their parents but then ignored and put back on the streets. All the mass shooters have had recorded mental problems. In prison, some 26,000 people are in prison than in mental health hospitals. This is hardly surprising when mental hospitals have fewer beds or even shutdown.
Of the list of organisations that are involved in or should be doing something about mental health, it hardly comes as a surprise that the National Rifle Association doesn’t care if such people are armed. Think of that the next time there is a mass killing spree and these out number terrorist attacks. Forty-one states have now reduced their mental health budgets so do you suppose the number of killing sprees won’t increase?
From reading this book, one thing becomes obvious about how political control is run and it’s all done by advocacy. If you have a senator or some other politician with an interest in something, not necessarily mental health, then they will attract or get money for a project. The serious mentally ill people have little in such advocacy and are therefore ignored, despite the fact that tackling them will protect society. Some of these people want to be placed in such hospitals so it’s hardly like they are all being dragged in there in chains. If the mentally ill realise they should be locked up you do have to wonder whay’s wrong with the mentally well people.
Although the page count is 352, it actually is 247 pages followed by a few appendixes and a massive reference note list. If you care about mental health in the USA then you should read this book. If you belong to other countries, see how better off you are or where there is a need for improvements. The seriously mentally ill aren’t always psychotic but they struggle to live in society. To just ignore them and think they will go away is not an aspect of a caring society. If we don’t care, who will?
(pub: Prometheus Books. 352 page small enlarged paperback. Price: $25.00 (US), $26.50 (CAN). ISBN: 978-1-63388-291-1. Ebook: Price: $11.99 (US), $13.99 (CAN). ISBN: 978-1-63388-292-8)
check out website: www.prometheusbooks.com