Healthcare system fails mentally ill in many ways
Regarding the story “Robin Williams’ death a wake-up call for mental health workers,” (ModernHealthcare.com, Aug. 12), the complexity of mental illness is immensely more taxing on everyone involved than treating any other type of illness, in my opinion. I’ve been a nurse for 30 years and have seen all types of mixtures of illnesses. Family and friends can be helpful to the therapist and psychiatrist in determining the family burden for caregivers dealing with the patient. They also can give insight into specific family members or entire family cultures that can be contributing to the emotional suffering of the patient.
Patients who are mentally ill are vulnerable in two ways: They can need help so desperately, but the laws don’t provide enough leeway to help a patient get to a place for clearer thinking and physical attention. (Often, these patients are dehydrated, malnourished, and personal hygiene has been omitted from any regimen, as has sleep and feeling safe.) Then, if they have self-medicated, one is never sure as to what and how much or how long they’ve been on or off their medications. Intense involvement is necessary by the treatment team.
Lisa Nabholz Conway, Ark.