G The guard just smiled. Only talks in poems. Like Raul. State Office of Mental Health in conjunction with the N. City Human Resources Administration. The screening, which extended over several days, focused primarily on the psychiatric condition of the residents. The findings were astounding.
A clear coincidence of chronic hopelessness and mental illness is characteristic of the dispossessed everywhere. The doctor gave him a prescription and sent him home to his alcoholic, epileptic, unwed mother.
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It seems that Raul had been making sport, bashing out the windows in his lower-east-side neighborhood with a flathead shovel. The doctor admitted him to the hospital, kept him heavily sedated for a week, and then released him on his own recognizance. That became a constantly repeated scenario over the next several years. He was in and out of halfway houses, community centers, hospitals, and mental institutions as if they were revolving doors until about 18 months ago when he came under the care of a state mental-health counselor and a psychiatrist.
From them he received the usual regimen of group counseling sessions and antipsychotic drugs, and seemed to be improving ever-so-slightly. Raul was left to his own wits, such that they were. Not once. His every utterance is in verse, from poetry that he has committed either to his grubby little spiral or to his thoroughly distressed mind. But never himself. Just as I reached the stoop of the old brownstone, Raul incautiously poked his head out the door. Something inexpressible passed between us. Then, obvious glee spread across his face.
He chortled happily and ducked back inside. His home. Deinstitutionalization Raul is the product of a social service revoluticm. It is a revolution called deinstitutionalization.
It is a revolution now mired in controversy, threatened with catastrophic failure. In , nearly The quality of care was declining. Recovery rates were abysmal.
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Criticism was universal. The situation had to be remedied somehow. Kennedy signed into legislation a comprehensive reinstitutionalization program. The goal of the legislation was naively hopeful, though certainly praiseworthy: release all but the most chronically ill mental patients from state-run asylums, and return them gradually to the community via halfway houses and the like.
It was anything but. As it turned out, once discharged, most of these mentally ill Still CrUy After All These Years: Mental Illness 61 patients, these thousands upon thousands of emotionally and spiritually debilitated persons, had nowhere to go except the streets. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, only about , patients are currently cared for in community rehabilitation programs. Is it any wonder then that their plight is so pitiful and pathetic? The Failure of Psychology The reason deinstitutionalization failed was not simply because the apparatus for care was never adequately implemented.
Nor was its failure due to the utter unredeemability of the patients. The failure of deinstitutionalization was very simply the most visible manifestation of a much greater failure. It was the failure of modern psychology. Deinstitutionalization was largely predicated on the therapeutic power of psychotropic pharmacology and psychotropic psychiatry. Neither has lived up to its high expectations. Both have been shamefully disgraced. Despite the creation of a virtual army of psychiatrists, psychologists, psychometrists, counselors, and social workers, there has been no letup in the rate of mental illness, suicide, alcoholism, drug addiction, child abuse, divorce, murder, and general mayhem.
Contrary to what one might expect, in a society so carefully analyzed and attended to by mental health experts, there has been an increase in all these categories. The more psychologists we have, the more mental illness we get; the more social workers and probation officers, the more crime; the more teachers, the more ignorance. One has to wonder at it all. In plain language, it is suspicious. Thorazine, the most commonly used anti-psychotic, antiemetic agent today, has a whole host of second and third degree effects that patients must endure. With psychology practically and philosophically bankrupt, dependent upon the broken crutch of anti-psychotic drug use and abuse, it is no wonder that deinstitutional ization has been no more successful than previous policies of institutionalization.
More of the same, of course.
Beat the dead horse. Only beat it harder, faster, and more often. More psychiatry.
More anti-psychotic drugs. More of everything that has failed so miserably in the past. And of course, more money to subsidize the whole vicious mess. Throw good money after bad.
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Try the same old proven failu res again and again and again and again. And no one was able to bind him anymore, even with a chain; because he had often bee:n bound with shackles and chains, and the chains had been torn apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces, and no one was strong enough to subdue him. The Gerasene was a madman. He was so out of touch with reality that he not only flagellated himself with rocks and stones Mark , but he cavorted about Ithe caves and tombs where he lived entirely naked Luke , A classic schizophrenic.
A classic paranoid psychotic. A demoniac. So, what did Jesus do? Rather than feeding the problems of the Gera,sene after the manner of modern psychology, He confronted them head on. He confronted the demons that had long haunted the man, and exorcised them Mark He cut to the heart of the dilemma, to the root problem that opened the man up to possession in the first place.
Whenever fallen men flee from their God- given responsibilities, they devolve into a vulnerable unreality.
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Thle farther they get from Him, the deeper they slide into a dark fantasy world of destructive behavior patterns. All men are aware of the reality and presence c f God Remans They are aware of His impending wrath against sin and its perpetrators Remans And the y are aware of His Law, extending even to the penal particulars Remans Stili Crazy After All These Ears: Mental Illness 65 This awareness is woven into the very fabric of reality: in the warp and woof of creation Remans and in the very consciousness of the human mind Remans Men cannot get away from this central reality, the reality that undergirds all sanity.
But they try, anyway. They run from the truth of God by running from the world and running from themselves. Thus they become irresponsible, destructive, and suicidal Proverbs They open themselves up to oppression and possession Proverbs ; Ephesians ; 1 Timothy He had run from his responsibilities to God and his responsibilities under God in order to escape from the inescapable. In the process he had been taken captive by demons and driven to utter insanity.
Jesus knew this and acted accordingly. Under the cover of religious devotion he wanted to proceed unabated with his frivolous, devil-may-care, unreliability. Jesus refused his request. Instead, He prescribed a simple, yet comprehensive, rehabilitation program for the man. First, he was to return home and take up his responsibilities.
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And second, he was to bear testimony of the grace and mercy of God. The Word of Christ had freed him of the demonic enslavement. It had brought him to his senses, returned him to his right mind, and reoriented him to reality. He needed to be rehabilitated through the discipline and routine of family life, through the reinforcement and encouragement of community life. To the modern ear this plan for the treatment of chronic mental illness seems naively simplistic. For a lmore detailed study of the Gerasene story and its relevance to schizophrenia, see Appendix 2. The evangelical pattern of admonishment, encouragement, and communit y participation.
And it worked. Better than the best that the professionals had to offer.
Powerful! True God! Incomparable!
The various and sundry U. Most professionals have never heard of it. And too many pastors have never thought to make use of it, either.