America’s Mental Wasteland

It’s time to wake up America regarding the inhumane treatment society is giving the mentally ill.  Of the 740,000 homeless in the United States 250,000 are mentally ill.  These individuals make the downtowns of many major cities a nightmare for everyone.  The streets are America’s mental ward.  This needs to stop.

Since  the Reagan administration mental illness (Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act in 1981) which was treated in intuitions like psychiatric hospitals, the country has given in to neglect of the mentally ill.  The idea was to save the cost of institutionalizing the mentally ill, but according to studies, the cost of leaving them on the streets is still around $40,000 per individual.

But is it sane?  Are we as Americans sane to let those we know are crazy out in the public centers, the marketplace, the city centers? Is it not extremely crazy to have the mentally ill loose on the streets?    There is this song about Los Angeles with the lyrics “nobody walks in LA.”  But the streets are full of the homeless.  Why do people allow this?  Why aren’t the politicians doing anything about this – “public servants,” the term is laughable.

Where fo art thou brother?

The real public servants, the police, firefighters, emts, the paramedics, the homeless shelter workers, the lay ministers, the emergency room staff, the clerks at the stores, they see these people up close and personal.  Why aren’t they crying out to get these mentally ill off the streets.  They are a national embarrassment, a blight on society.

The Police have been cited so often for police brutality after they beat or kill the homeless that they look like goons.  They aren’t trained to deal with these mentally ill people.  They cannot control the city streets filled with sick mined folks.  They should be enforcing real laws, and these sick people should be cared for.

People are saying:

Mentally Ill Patients Strain EMS Resources by Tony Plohetski in Mental Health News

“As emergency rooms continue to be crowded by mental health patients who can’t get beds elsewhere”

Paramedic Perceptions of their role.  Journal of Emergency Primary Care 2009: Volume 7, Issue 3

“The removal of people with mental illness from an institution based system of care to the community has not been accompanied by an appropriate level of community service development resulting in a growing need for prehospital care.”

Dealing with the Mentally Ill and Emotionally Disturbed in the Use of Force Context, by Jack Ryan, Public Agency Training Council

Homeless in Los Angeles by Jerry Drucker, LA Progressive

“In 2011 the census count of the homeless (in Los Angeles County) was 51,340, 3% less than 2009 at 52,931. A looming problem that Arnold brought up was homeless veterans.”


Accordino, M. P., Porter, D. F., & Morse, T. (2001). Deinstitutionalization of Persons with Severe Mental Illness: Context and Consequences. Journal Of Rehabilitation, 67(2), 16.



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