The Third World of Mental Health Care
By: Marc Deprey
This Sunday, my daughter was given a new regime of meds to address her increased oppositional and violent behavior. Unfortunately, the wrong drug was written on her prescription and between that drug and all the other changes made she went into a severe manic episode. Over two days she just got worse and worse. By Monday night she was seeing things that weren’t there, trying to jump out of her window, screaming, and trashing her room.
We took her to the local emergency room where we spent 5 hours waiting for the psych evaluation unit to take her in to be evaluated. During the initial time at the ER, they kept giving her more and more sedatives, which just made her mania harder to control. She was literally walking into walls, grabbing at things that weren’t there, confusing us with others, etc. I was alone with her most of the time, trying to keep her near her bed, but I can’t restrain her anymore, she’s too big. This went on for hour after hour. They finally admitted her to the Psych evaluation unit and the ambulance took her there (BTW restrained, which calmed her) and they put her in restraints there as well.
For 12 more hours we waited for a bed to open up at a psyche ward for adolescents. During some of that time she was being restrained, but no hospital would take her unless she was not under restraint for at least 2 hours. So, you need to be not sick before you are admitted to a hospital? I guess since there are so few beds they can pick and choose. So here we are in an adult mental health crisis unit with grown men screaming and freaking out for 12 hours trying to keep her from hurting herself with little help from an obviously understaffed facility.
She was finally accepted at a unit 2 hours away from us and once she got there she began to slowly improve. But I have to say that the whole experience was not only traumatic but also downright embarrassing. This is how we treat our children who are sick from getting bad medicine from professionals? The whole mental health system is abysmal and we should be ashamed. These are our children, for God’s sake!