Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mr. Politician, Shove Your Budget Cuts

I'm tired from too many colleagues jumping the South Carolina Department of Mental Health ship before it sinks completely. I'm tired from really, really caring about my clients but having too many to keep up with.

But I think equally tiring is hearing commercials for politicians promising to cut taxes because too many people are getting things they don't deserve. Too many people are on the government payout wagon. "Vote for me! I'm going to empower the individual, not government. . . blah blahdee blah."

You've saved us some bucks by cutting mental health services. But did you know that your constituents include some really undesirable folk? Some of them even have (cough) mental illness.

Now sure, in your world I understand these people do not exist. They are disposable. And people with mental illnesses don't vote, do they? They don't count. Those people with serious mental illness should buck up, get a job with benefits and off the government dole. I understand the way you think. You're just looking out for your job. After all, I'm used to dealing with people who make less than perfect sense.

But don't you dare tell me that cutting the mental health budget is a good way to save government money. You, Mr. Politician, are the one being supported by the government. I don't know one single person with schizophrenia who wouldn't trade benefit packages with you. Why don't you cut your staff?

Hey, I'm working hard in the mental health "system" trying to make bricks with no straw. Just keep cutting, Mr. Politician. Do you realize that people in need of involuntary hospitalization (those are the ones, Sir, who are a danger to themselves or others due to mental illness) have to wait in an emergency room until there is a bed available in a psychiatric hospital. They have to do that, Sir, because you and your buds have closed wards in the hospitals. Yes, yes you have.

Now, if I worked in an emergency room I'd be pretty pissed at you. But those people probably just don't understand your job the way I do. Of course, if you slip and break your toe, Sir, you might have to wait in an ER waiting room for a while in moderate discomfort because the ER staff are all trying to pretend to be a psychiatric ward.

But hey, I must say, your idea about letting the really mentally ill people hang out in local jails is a great idea. Sure, they don't get the help they need, but they are out of sight. And after all, you don't personally know any of them.

I'll bet you're tired, too, Mr. Politician. All that juggling and posturing and politicking. And the commercials! Whew! It sounds simply exhausting. But in all due respect, Mr. Politician, kiss this!

You are supposed to be a representative of the people. You know. . . . the people. All of them. Not just the nice, clean, middle class conservative chums of yours. But be careful, Mr. Politician. All people (except, evidently those who are professional politicians) are affected by mental illness. Not just those with the diagnoses.

I'm really, really tired of you.


  1. Why is it every single state is exactly the same? There must be an official handbook for politicians that says, "Do not care about the SMI, kids' heathcare, or education."

    Your most relevant statement and the one I bi**h about the most?

    "Why don't you cut your staff?

  2. My wife works in the mental health field and has the same issues. Calling everywhere to find a bed, more clients thrown at her than her team can handle, cut budgets, etc. I understand your anger.