THE BLOG
09/02/2010 09:35 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Mental Illness Policy Forces Police to Shoot Mentally Ill James Jay Lee at Discovery Channel

Almost all seriously mentally ill individuals who ultimately become headlines have been abandoned by the mental "health" system.

James Jay Lee who took the Discovery Channel hostage was no exception. According to TMZ, he had been previously arrested in Maryland in 2008 and:

the court ordered him to serve time in a mental institution. But according to sources, Lee never stepped inside a hospital

He went to jail for 14 days instead. Mental illness officials abandoned him. Two weeks after probation ended an untreated mentally ill man took Discovery Channel hostage and the police were forced to step in. BANG! BANG! BANG!

That's not surprising. Mental 'health' officials are abandoning treatment of the most seriously ill in favor of attempting to meet the mental 'health' needs of the worried well who:
  • feel too sad
  • feel too energetic
  • Feel tired
  • are addicted to sex
  • are divorced
  • unloved
  • unhappy
  • addicted to video games
  • eat too much
  • eat too little
  • saw an oil spill on TV
  • were in a hurricane
  • get bad grades
  • use the internet too much (me)
and on and on. All these mental 'health' issues get "mental" funding and take money from serious mental illness.

Maryland, where James Jay Lee lived is no exception. They've largely abandoned treating the most seriously ill. According to a report by Dr. E. Fuller Torrey of the Treatment Advocacy Center, Maryland went from having 347 psychiatric beds per 100,000 citizens in 1955 to 22 beds per 100,000 individuals today. As a result of closing hospitals that treat the seriously ill, in favor of programs for the worried well, Maryland now has 5969 seriously mentally ill in jails and state prisons and only 2,211 in public and private psychiatric units. Put another way, if you are mentally ill in Maryland, you are over 2 ½ times more likely to be arrested for it than treated for it.

A conservative estimate shows Maryland would need 1,595 more public psychiatric hospital beds to meet the minimum needs of the most seriously ill. Many other states do even worse.

In order to prevent the police from having to shoot individuals with serious mental illness, we have to reorient the mental health system to meet it's original mission: treating the most seriously ill.