It Really Sucks to Be Mentally Ill in Texas

Categories: Healthcare

SunsetAdvisory.jpg
Sunset Advisory Commission
A recently released report by the Commission harshly criticizes the DSHS and state mental health care.
Related: It Really Sucks to Be Old in Texas

Texas' notoriously porous mental-health system is in the news even more than usual this week. At Parkland, the psychiatric ER is yet again facing allegations of patient abuse. Last weekend, Dallas Police shot and killed Jason Harrison, a 38-year-old severely schizophrenic man who'd been medicated back to "competency."

And earlier this week the Sunset Advisory Commission, which reviews the performance of state agencies, released a report detailing what severe shortcomings in the state health system, with a particularly harsh takedown of the Department of State Health Services.

With chapter titles such as "DSHS Has Not Provided the Leadership Needed to Best Manage the State's Public Health System" and "DSHS' Numerous Advisory Committees Lack Strategic Purpose, Limiting Their Effectiveness and Wasting Resources," the Sunset Advisory Commission's evaluation of the DSHS is, in a word, excoriating.

Matt Roberts, President of the Greater Dallas chapter of Mental Health America, says the report, while appreciated, is hardly surprising.

"My initial reaction was that it appears the Sunset Commission staff captured something we have seen in the local Dallas area for some time," Roberts tells Unfair Park. Roberts says public mental health services and resources in Dallas are facing burdensome financial struggles, despite lawmakers' increase of funding for mental health services last session.

In Dallas, he says, that additional and sorely needed money apparently never came. "We worked very hard with the state budget during the session, only to later find that the funds we expected to arrive in Dallas didn't arrive," Roberts says. "When we look at Sunset Commission's report, we found this was a pattern across Texas."

In fact, the report stresses inefficiency and inaction within the DSHS, possibly because of the sheer size of the organization, which claims more than 360,000 affiliated workers and facilities. While the Sunset Commission is not yet drawing any conclusive recommendations regarding the dissolution of the 15-year-old DSHS, they make it clear that it could be an imminent possibility:

Numerous plans and studies attempting to correct pervasive state hospital system issues have yielded few results, and the success of future plans is questionable ... The state hospital system is essentially unchanged from the last Sunset review 15 years ago.


"The report made us aware that it was a situation that was statewide, and that it was a situation where the DSHS received multiple instructions by legislatures that they did not implement," Roberts says. "We hope Sunset uses this as opportunity to really improve care that mental health patients are receiving. ... As an advocate, I have been frustrated."

The Sunset Commission will meet next week for a public hearing on the DSHS. While its future existence is secure for the moment, the greater question will come when the Commission completes its review of all state health and human service organizations this fall. After that, the DSHS's future may be more precarious, as the Commission's current improvement recommendations can only be drawn from incomplete information.

But advocates are adamant that something has to change within the DSHS. "I'm not sure that if the average Texan looked at mental health system in depth, they'd be proud of how we're helping these people," Roberts says. "I don't think we do enough in the mental health process of prevention to illness to crisis to healing to recovery. And we're not providing enough resources or options for treatment and recovery."


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28 comments
paulbwilliams
paulbwilliams


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rkm200
rkm200

The obligatory question is where exactly does it not suck to be mentally ill?

DRHindenton
DRHindenton

Here's something that was not mentioned concerning mental health. The Texas health and human services department of Aging and Disability services (DADS) is closing 6 state supported schools. These "schools" are actually homes for the mentally disabled. The state has 13 campuses. Closing 6 of them will devastate thousands of mentally disabled and mentally handicapped individuals. These people have it hard enough, they need you to speak for them. Stop the closings.

ChangingF8
ChangingF8

Shh, ignore the mental health issue. Write more columns on how gun control is the answer quick before the Liberals revolt on you.

richardsdropincenter
richardsdropincenter

Yes it is true. So head North to Albuquerque. Then you can write a truthful article. Defining a Mental colony of dysfunction that SUCKS beyond compare

whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

It pretty much sucks to be mentally ill anywhere.


ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Unless you can get a job as cop or council member.

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

@bvckvs Somewhere between the third and twenty ninth 911 call for the intervention team to take him in to the hospital and get him back on his medications someone should have figured that this guys treatment plan wasn't working for him.


CandyDate
CandyDate

@bvckvs  U do understand that by making such a comment with Top Commenter next to your name one can only assume that you fall into ever category you listed.  Then assuming the photo is of you it only adds to either hypocrisy or a plea for help. 

wcvemail
wcvemail

@richardsdropincenter

Heading north to go to Albuquerque is crazy in itself. (alternatively) If you think you're in Albuquerque when you're in Oklahoma City, you probably are crazy.

rkm200
rkm200

@bvckvs @rkm200  Why would you insult the mentally ill, don't they have enough to deal with?

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@wcvemail @richardsdropincenter

You mean, this isn't Pismo Beach?

I must have take a wrong turn at Albuquerque.

whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

@dingo @whateveryousay I wasn't commenting on the mentally ill.  I was commenting on that it sucks everywhere for the mentally ill.  In California, where I'm at, they have cut most funding for the mentally ill out of the budget.


wcvemail
wcvemail

@James080 @ozonelarryb

But if you're a former city council member, law-breaking and disgraced precinct chair, perpetual candidate, and Dallas Observer-proclaimed genius-level "community leader" named Sandra Crenshaw, life can go on as if you'd hadn't been repeatedly committed to mental care.

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

@bvckvs @oakclifftownie There  a facility where he was treated and released 29 times.

That is where the questions need to be directed to .

We have a mental health  drama that plays out about every three weeks at a house at the other end of the block.

Its never quite  the same. But based on one past experience the POLICE will roll up with 4 squad cars and a Sargent . In case this is one of the times his mentally side  wants a fight.

CandyDate
CandyDate

@bvckvs @CandyDate  I never assume you care or you are someone who works.  It is clear you are mentally ill though.  That is not an assumption.  It is easy to tell which of the ailments you mention are your own.  I would add victimization, delusional, uncontrollable anger and someone who feels superior by lashing out.  I don't feel like shit and I don't have shame for my name.  I am not a self aggrandizing little turd twirler who just labeled everyone on this board mentally ill in your original post.  You know what they say, quacks that live in glass asylums shouldn't throw stones.  In fact, they shouldn't be given stones to throw in the first place.  They may hurt themselves.  Nes pa?

Lorlee
Lorlee

@wcvemail @James080 @ozonelarryb Is there a reason you feel compelled to draw attention to any one person's mental status?  I think it is inappropriate no matter what the circumstances.


wcvemail
wcvemail

@Lorlee @wcvemail @James080 @ozonelarryb Considering how much attention she herself has drawn to it, both willingly and through her off-meds antics, and considering that she was endorsed by the DMN for the last State House election despite her legal and mental problems, and considering that the preceding comments above mine referred to council membership AND the Observer, then ... 

Surely you're not suggesting that I have a compulsion, are you? That would be casting aspersions on my mental condition, wouldn't it?

CandyDate
CandyDate

@bvckvs @CandyDate  Now, I am assuming this is one of your issues.  So I will give you my full name and an email and you will do the same.  You will see this is part of my name.  So you want to put your name where your maligning comments are.  You get my name and email address on the public board for yours.

CandyDate
CandyDate

@bvckvs @CandyDate  Checked your profile.  Did not see your real name.  Did see that you attended Richland College "briefly" in the 80's.  This must be where you received the educated enlightenment to diagnose an entire group of commenters with mental illness.  I did see hundreds of comments that I scanned through only to find that this is ALL that you do here.  Ninety five percent of your comments are you publically judging other's mental state or intelligence level under a fake name. 


So here we go.  My name I Candace Dayton, Candy Date is a nickname and online name.  My husband is not keen on me giving more information out but I will give an email when you post your full name here.  Then we can continue this conversation mental illness on your terms.  My terms are simple.  No hypocrisy. 

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@CandyDate  You'd better listen to your husband, honey.  I've had death threats on this comment board.  No way would I ever reveal any personal information.

bippyizod
bippyizod

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz @CandyDate  Thanks Myrna.  You are right.  Though a death threat should be dealt with by the Moderators.  I can only assume others have encountered his hate taunts before and just brush them off.  I had just never seen someone make a blanket statement about an entire board of commenters suffering from mental illness. 

bippyizod
bippyizod

@bvckvs @CandyDate  Exactly.  Another Internet troll sitting behind a keyboard passing judgment on others in order to feel better about your lot in life.  Pathetic. Common.  Moronic. 


At least you found some use for those six weeks of education at Richland College. 

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