Hey friends, it’s me again, giving you kind of another update on my brother. But, I’m also talking/ranting about something that I have found to be really important.
First let me tell you what he’s up to. After completing a 28-day program with the state, he is now at a facility in North Carolina that serves as a ministry. I’ve only heard updates from my parents because his communication opportunities are slim. He’s really happy. So happy. So much happier than he has been in a really long time. I thank God for the change of heart that’s He is working in him. Thank you all SO much for your prayers for him and for our family. God is so good. He is a God of healing and he is working on healing my brother into the person he is meant to become, so thank you for loving him, for caring about him, for asking about him, and for praying for him. It means the world to him and to my family.
Now onto my important discovery. The state facility is a 28-day program. Because it is a department of the state, they cannot turn patients away who are unable to pay for it. An emergency room is not going to turn someone away if they are beginning to bleed to death, but you will rack up a huge bill that may land you back in the ER for a heart attack. In the same way, the state department of mental health cannot turn you away for not being able to pay. That doesn’t mean they won’t bill you.
I would also like to point out that jail costs nothing to inmates. They are provided their basic needs, like food, water and shelter with tax payer money. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 61% of inmates in state prisons have a mental illness. A lot of times, those illnesses land those people in jail time and time again. Now this is the stat for prison, so these are people that have spent time in jail and gone through a trial and everything, and are now in prison for a certain period of time.
Jails are full of people who are mentally ill. Sometimes, being mentally ill means doing things you wouldn’t do in a healthy state of mind. Mental illness includes addiction. It costs the inmate $0 to be in jail. Meanwhile, it was cheaper for me to go to college for four years than it was for my brother to go to rehab for 28 days. ONE MONTH vs. FOUR YEARS. TELL ME WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE!!! No wonder people are spending more time in jail than getting help.
Mental illness is seriously a problem for so many people across the United States and so many people cannot afford to get help, they don’t understand the severity of it, they don’t understand their own brains and the people around them are not educated enough to know what is going on. Luckily, I deal with anxiety myself (not luckily for me, but luckily I have been educated on the topic of mental illness), so I could recognize this in my brother to know that something is wrong. Not only that, but a lot of people see addiction as something incredibly shameful. While its not a good situation to be in and addicts become addicts because they chose to start using a substance, they often use that substance to self medicate due to lack of help for a preexisting condition. Really, it’s part of our fallen nature.
My heart hurts for those in state prisons and city and county jails across the country that need help so desperately but that cannot get it. If taxes are paying for basic needs, why can their health not be included in that. Medications are provided for, but they cannot be a psychiatrist. They don’t get help for addiction. They don’t do rehab in jail. In country jails, they sit inside all day wasting their days. I don’t know how it is for everyone, but that is how it was for my brother. Three months he sat in jail and just wasted that time when he could have been provided some sort of help. Anything would be better than nothing.
There are people hurting, and my heart breaks for them. I pray one day we can make a change to the justice system that allows help for the broken.
Stats from: https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/mhppji.pdf