If you work, as I have in small rural and small town hospital emergency rooms, you rapidly learn the euphemism of “the brown taxi”. What it means is that there is some poor soul who was brought in because their behavior or mental processes were so out of control, erratic, violent, or dangerous to themselves/other people that something (anything!) had to be done. I’ve never known who gets more of them: ERs or the jails, but I do know we saw quite a few. Most of the time, somebody wanted them calmed down enough to get them to an inpatient facility without getting somebody hurt.
That’s where the Sheriff’s deputies came in with their brown cars. These people know what those brown uniforms mean. They might be off in some universe of their own, but they know those uniforms. Some will immediately calm down and allow themselves to be medicated for the trip in the ‘brown taxi’. Others will fight like mother bears. Those deputies are something else.
We shouldn’t have to endanger either these people, our law enforcement, or our healthcare workers. Back in the Reagan days, it suddenly became fashionable to close all the “mental hospitals” and turn mental patients out on the streets. Maybe some of that was okay, but it sure did leave a lot of people without resources. Medical insurance has NEVER paid well for mental health care. Best I’ve ever seen for private insurance was 50% of cost for care and that was limited to 6 months. Excuse me? I’ve never seen a psychologist’s bill that wasn’t higher than a cat’s back and the medications are outrageous. Plus you do not ‘cure’ mental illness in 6 months. Most of it is lifelong. Who are they kidding?
Our General Assembly and Governor’s office took a step to try to force insurance companies to pay for mental health services in a way that is more equitable and fair like they do other medical services. I hope it works. I really do. It is certainly a step in the correct direction. However, it is only ONE STEP.
I also am a current volunteer with the CASA program in Troup County. I see the effects that the lack of readily available mental health services has on our communities in terms of our families. We have mothers who simply cannot cope with having their children, feeding them, finding a safe shelter for them, finding a job that pays well enough, and medical services. They wind up in situations that will make you cry. Some have their own mental health issues. Some wind up with medical issues that lead them to substance abuse.
Then there are the mental health issues that come with the children who have been so traumatized by their lives in these situations. We simply do not have adequate resources for all these needs. It is not a question of “they should try harder”. They need something to try WITH. To put it bluntly, you can’t paddle your canoe upstream faster if your canoe is full of holes and your paddle is broken.
My name is Ellen Wright and I want to advocate for the citizens of District 29 as your next Senator in the State of Georgia. Mental health concerns are an issue with me. I believe that mental health is a medical condition just like anything else and should be treated as such. I am asking for your vote and your financial support in my campaign to be your next Senator. Will you support me? Donations can be made at actblue.com and type in my name ellen wright in the search box at the top of the screen. It will take you right to my page. I depend on grassroots donors like you and just $25 will help a lot.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
My name is Ellen Wright, and I am a candidate for Senate, D29.
Together, we will all win.