The shame of it

The slow motion meltdown of public responsibility around mental health in North Carolina reminds me of America's response to genocide in Africa. Well-intentioned hand-wringing about the oh-so-sad misfortunes of others, flurries of words, a smattering of dollars thrown like band-aids at the problems.

Better than nothing, but not by much.

And oh my the finger-pointing. Hooker. Easley. The senators. The representatives. It's always somebody else's fault. So sorry. There's nothing I can do.

I call bullshit.

There's are a hundred things you could do if you wanted to. Any of you. It's not a matter of "can" - it's a matter of "don't want to."

Somehow, somewhere along the way, the anti-tax zealots stole the brains of our state's leaders. Instead of thinking about what services are necessary for the common good, elected officials seem to start by thinking about how to cut taxes. And in doing so, they're basically saying "screw you" to mental health professional and their patients.

If you can't afford to get help with mental problems, you are shit out of luck.


The shredding of the safety net in North Carolina is shameful. This issue needs full and open discussion in public squares all across the state.


What you said, Anglico.

What you said.

I've come back to edit this. Because I always have more to say.

I wonder if the slow movement on this is because so many of the people in power in our state are those who have not had to be "in the system." When you've never had to do without mental health care, for yourself or a loved one, it doesn't seem like a big deal. The mentally ill don't bleed, their bones don't snap, they don't die. They are just in pain. Every day. Like the commercial says: Depression hurts. All mental illness hurts.

My sister was one of them. She couldn't hold down a job. She struggled to raise her children. It it hadn't been for the rest of us, her family, her children would probably have been taken from her. They spent several months living with me and my son because she was unable to cope with them. They spent several years with my parents for the same reason.

We fought to find her the help she needed. There is no lack of it in the area, but most of it is private. The public system is stressed beyond belief. It took 5 years to convince Social Security that she was sick enough that she couldn't work, and needed medicaid. Then, at least she was covered. By then, her depression had progressed to the point that she could not get out of it. She was hospitalized more times than I can count. She was diagnosed with so many different disorders by different doctors - because when you go to a clinic you see who you see - that I still don't know what she had. The various medications she was given by the multiple doctors caused her to gain weight - by the time she was 38 years old, she weighed more than 400 pounds.

She died when 2 months after her 40th birthday, of a heart attack, and complications from gastric bypass surgery. It's a long horrible mess, but I lost my sister - mainly because of her mental health. If she had been mentally healthy, she wouldn't have gained the weight she had gained. If she hadn't gained the weight, she wouldn't have had the disastrous surgery, and she wouldn't have had the heart attack.

I miss her every day. I miss her children, who no longer live in NC.

The mental health system affects families. I suspect that most of have stories that we can tell about how mental health affects real families. My family has more stories about mental health (no surprise, I suppose!). But this post is already long.

I grew up believing that the purpose of having a government is to take care of people who can't take care of themselves. This one is really a no-brainer, Ms. Hooker-Odom, Mr. Easley. Grow up, and take care of the citizens of NC who need you. That's what you're there for.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

Thanks for your story, lcloud

I bet we all know and love people who have needed the mental health system. This whole situation is appalling and completely reprehensible.

That public officials think they can get away with this mass incompetence and indifference just makes my blood boil. I'm ashamed to call myself a Democrat right now. I'm ashamed to be a North Carolinian.

The arrogance of Easley and Hooker Odom in the face of the needs of the mentally ill astounds me in its ugliness. They talk waste and fraud but they have no plan to serve the needs of the people who are on waiting lists already for these services. What they are saying just doesn't make sense. And where is the coverage by the major papers?
“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.”
So enjoy the drama.

You said it well

Mental Health always gets placed on the back burner. You are so right, there are hundreds of things that could be done, however mental health always takes a backseat to the more "visable" problems. When our leaders get as interested in helping people as they are in killing then there may be change. Unfortuntly there is not much profit or political gain for them in mental health so they chose to ingore the problems. I hope that 2008 will bring change on a National and State level that will be an improvement over the weakness that we now have. Aniglo you have a great way with words, keep up the fight!!!

To Icloud

I am sorry that we live in the greatest country in the world and stories like this have to be told. And still nothing is done. Easley sits in his office and pretends to care but in the end he had rather not be bothered. I am sorry about your sister and that you have to live with the sadness. Mental illness hurts, the pain is as great as any broken bone and yet is is the most ignored area of health care. We need to get in the faces from Easley on down and say that we refuse to take it anymore.

I'm sorry, too

I hesitated to tell the story. No one wants to hear about my crazy sister. And believe me, a lot of the things she did were really crazy. She was really sick. I had to convince myself it was ok to tell the story because it's important to put human faces on the people who should be receiving services. They shouldn't be thought of as "cases" - they should be thought of as what they are: mothers, sisters, daughters, fathers, brothers, children, friends, aunts, uncles, friends, etc.

I urge everyone who has a story to tell to tell it. Tell it to a legislator. Tell it to Governor Easley. Tell it to Sec. Hooker-Odom. Tell it to your local newspaper. Keep the faces in front of "we the people" so that "least of these my brothers" can't be any more marginalized than they already are.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

Mental Illness doesn't have to be severe for it to destroy


I'm really sorry for what your family went through.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

If BlueNC can do it

I'll be posting here on Monday with the latest from the front.

We've got allies in Raleigh, but without continued public uproar they don't stand a chance.

Scrutiny Hooligans -

Drama Queen is right...

We all know or have family members who suffer some sort of mental illness.

I am contacting everyone I know about this issue.

How disheartening. Last year the state found themselves with a billion dollars surplus, and yet they are constantly cutting funds for the helpless. It is shameful.
The state government couldn't spend that billion fast enough on pork projects when they had it.


They have those, too.

N&O Sunday LTEs

I didn't write this, but I could have.

A further word to all those people in Raleigh with "Dix 306" signs in their yards, hoping to benefit from the largest transfer of resources from the needy to the non-needy in state history. When you head on over to the park with Buffy and Fluffy for your picnic, try not to bother the people in the tent city for the homeless mentally ill. They won't be hard to find. Just look for the sign that says "Hooker-Odom-Easleyville."


Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

what alternate universe

That person really pisses me off. The "Dix 306" movement is an effort to keep land that was donated to the city for the purpose of being a park a park. There is no needy vs non needy. The land wont be sold. It will be used to make some high end multi-use developement.

I wish I knew why this idiot decided to attack a bunch of people concerned for the environment, but he is singlehandedly doing what he can to destroy the progressive movement in Raleigh. You want to know why the progressive movement is splintered and disjointed? Its because of ass hats like that.

I have a 306 sign in my yard. I have others that do. I can not think of a single one of them that would support the governor in this mental health care debacle.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Liddy 44 Brad 33

"Keep the Faith"

Who Benefits

It will be used to make some high end multi-use developement


And what replaces Dix?


has been walking dead for a long time. The legislature has been trying to kill it every chance they get for the last 3 years or longer.

As for the park, the people who advocate a park have included the continued operation of the mental health hospital in their plans.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Liddy 44 Brad 33

"Keep the Faith"

Continued services are a good idea.

More services would be better.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi