Decriminalizing Mental Illness

Over the last 30 years, the U. S. prison system has become home to more than 350,000 individuals living with a severe mental illness — that is 10 times the number of patients that receive treatment in state psychiatric hospitals. Our under-resourced, and overcrowded jails and prisons are not equipped to support these individuals, and many who enter the system leave sicker than when they were detained. It is time to decriminalize mental illness and invest in well-informed policies, intervention programs, and treatment clinics.

Let me first offer some historical perspective to understand where we are today. Psychiatric hospitals were built in the 1800s to treat mental illness. At their height in 1959, state mental hospitals held approximately 559,000 patients. Although established on moral principles, these institutions fell out of favor during the 1950s through the 70s following accusations of patient neglect and were replaced by community care facilities and services. After a few years, the cost and logistics of community-based care became unsustainable. Thousands of people lost access to care, and without meaningful alternatives, were funneled into the prison system. In short, our prisons have become the new asylums.

To read more, please click here to visit the Huffington Post website.

What If People Treated Physical Illness Like Mental Illness?

It’s no secret there’s a serious stigma attached to mental illness. According to the CDC, only 25 percent of people with mental health issues feel that other people are compassionate and sympathetic toward them. It’s a shameful statistic when one in four people have been touched by some form of mental illness.

Experts say that part of the problem when it comes to criticizing someone’s mental health is a lack of empathy and knowledge about the ailments. Yet, despite the staggering evidence and rhetoric aimed at helping people understand, many people still don’t get that being diagnosed with a mental illness isn’t something that’s in their control — just like having the flu, or food poisoning, or cancer isn’t in their control.

To know more, please click here to visit the Huffington Post website.

Federal Grant Funds Now Available to Launch New AOT Programs!

They said it couldn’t happen! As a result of our dedicated advocacy and your support, the federal government has – for the first time ever – allocated $15 million for assisted outpatient treatment (AOT). SAMHSA posted a grant announcement earlier this week inviting state and local authorities to apply for up to four years ofRead More

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Message From Family & Friends Coordinator Mary Ross

I’ve been involved lately in the annual ‘walk’ of our ally, NAMI (Greater Milwaukee chapter).  With respect to our ‘partnership’, given all that I have learned and benefited from SARDAA’s influence and commitment, I put forth an effort via team ‘SZ the DAY!, SZ of course referring to  Schizophrenia (and related disorders).  This servesRead More

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Message From SA Administrator Brian Donahue

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.  Here in Torrington, Connecticut, we will celebrate tomorrow evening with a Candlelight Vigil.  At this Vigil, persons in recovery will read their personal stories of recovery. On May 21ST, we are holding a one-day Workshop on SA.  You must register before May 16TH, so we know how muchRead More

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Unlocking the Black Box of Schizophrenia – 7 myths about schizophrenia

Few mental disorders are as misunderstood as schizophrenia. When we turn on the television, we’re saturated with images of unpredictable “psychotic” villains. The word “schizo” is an insult that might be heard in a high school hallway. People with schizophrenia are often discriminated against, in part because most of the public doesn’t understand what schizophreniaRead More

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Make your SARDAA Health Storylines app your own

Sardaa Health Storylines

Did you know that you can customize your SARDAA Health Storylines app to best meet your wellness needs? You can personalize your app with the tools that you need to optimize your care and wellbeing. Simply go to the tool library on the left-sidebar of your app, and browse through many categories to findRead More

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Unbelievable: Colorado Debates Holding People in a Psychiatric Crisis in Jail

In another outrageous and devastating example of our national psychiatric bed shortage, Colorado state lawmakers are debating legislation that would place people in the middle of a psychotic episode in jail – even though they haven’t committed a crime. The bill has already passed in the Senate and is now in the House. How isRead More

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Transforming Mental Health Care

Reference: Report from Medscape Starting With Change Around the Edges As nurses, we hold an ethical imperative to care for all who are ill. We aspire to be forces for social good. And we are educated in holistic and humanistic theories of “caring.” Yet most of us work in health care systems that operate fromRead More

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Schizophrenia Awareness Week: 17 – 23 May 2016

Schizophrenia is an illness, a medical condition. It affects the normal functioning of the brain, interfering with a person’s ability to think, feel and act. Some do recover completely, and, with time, most find that their symptoms improve. However, for many, it is a prolonged illness, which can involve years of distressing symptoms and disability.Read More

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