Two important letters to the editor Jan. 15 called attention to the disgraceful lack of residential treatment facilities available when parents, seeking to avert tragedy, need them.
One letter, “Short-term centers needed,” talked of how parents, desperate for help, are faced with a blank wall or at best very short-term care. Community resources for follow-up are similarly lacking.
Another letter, “Caring about money, not care,” went on to point out that for-profit managed care has contributed to North Carolina’s slide backward. This was predicted before it became a fact. No one was listening. Treating mental illness is not a profitable business.
Although the law requires the involuntary commitment of anyone who makes threats to end his own life or that of someone else, there is a shortage of even the inappropriate prison-like facilities from which parents must “choose.” No consideration is given to the needs of the disturbed adolescent – only to shoving them in the nearest available “bed” with no consideration to the proximity of family or the availability of appropriate treatment. They emerge even more resistant to treatment. This is disgraceful.
Let’s stop it and provide an effective continuum of treatment.