How we think mental illness is caused greatly affects how we treat it. Those severely mentally disordered people who have committed crimes are being treated in mental hospitals without proper supervision. The safety of health professionals is at risk.
Comment on “Changes Sought After Death at Calif. Mental Hospital” on Morning Edition on 19 April 2011. See also the report on Morning Edition on 24 May 2011, “California Ordered To Reduce Prison Population“, and on All Things Considered 23 May 2011, “High Court Rules Calif Must Cut Prison Population“, where I discuss how combining severely mentally ill criminals in mental hospitals without proper safety precautions creates an extremely dangerous work environment for professional hospital workers. I take issue with the use of the term “genetic” to describe a cause of mental illness, since there is always an environmental interaction with genes.
Updated 25 May 2011
The death of a patient who had to be subdued by hospital staff for attacking another patient has led to more debate about what to do about the mental hospitals in California who have swelled with patients referred to them from the criminal justice system. This death happens just after the state has been asked to do something about the increasing violence because of a previous recent death of a staff member. The state’s response? California’s OSHA levied fines because the hospital had violated state labor law. The answer so far has been to lift the hiring freeze at the hospital.
My Post at that Site:
It is clear that the situation is nearing desperate, and it should spark almost desperate moves to provide safety. Increasing a police presence, even if they are in disguise, would greatly help to prevent such problems, while the state figures out what to do with a burgeoning criminally mentally ill population. Besides the stopgap measures of transferring many patients to new hospitals created out of buildings abandoned by failed companies, they are going to have to hire a lot of new staff. At some point, sooner than later, they will have to face facts and turn to prevention.
You cannot assume that all such mental illness is “genetic”. First of all, genes do not “cause” anything, they are associated with it. Second, not all mental illnesses have been analyzed for a specific genetic link, and you have to find a responsible gene before you can claim “genetic association”. Third, all genes need an environmental signal to turn on or turn off. Finally, being sure that the test sample is pure has not even been addressed, since toxic chemicals can cause either methylation or mutation in genes. Since all parts of inside as well as outside of the body can become contaminated with toxins, even if you have isolated a genetic link, you still do not know if every cell in the body has the mutated gene associated with the mental condition, and thus was passed down in the family.
So, based upon the above lack of information, we must assume that environmental causes are the culprit of all mental illness. There are thousands of studies done on such possible causes which now demand very creative measures to prevent their occurrence. Count among them, again, toxins (see my blog on Using MRT: Removing Toxins and Emotional Trauma).
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