"Lack of Insight": The Phrase Sucks But the Problem Is Real
Posted Nov 07 2008 11:02am
Because I'm still in shock over the election of Barack Hussein Obama as the 44th president of what I can now say is the TREMENDOUSLY AWESOME United States of America, I asked TTWS readers what we should talk about now. Kay wrote the following, and I think it highlights many challenges mental health advocates have to face. There are no easy answers here, but I share the frustration of those involved in this case.
I'm always a fan of talking about compelling mentally ill people to get help. I'm on my uni's debate society, and have close relationships with debaters from other schools. One unversity's club had a girl that the other members were really concerned about, because she would follow people home and call them at all hours, they found notes implying she wanted to hurt herself and others, and a lot of other major concerns. They tried to talk her but she would literally walk away and refuse to listen. So as a group they went to Student Counselling and expressed their concern that she would hurt herself or someone else, and they were told that the university couldn't do anything unless she came in herself.
A few months later, this girl went to a bus stop, stabbed a stranger, then got on a bus. My friends expressed relief that it wasn't any worse (the victim did not suffer any permanent physical damage and is now fine) and that she is now getting the help she needs (she is in a psychiactric hospital), but it could have been so much worse. It could have been another Virginia Tech.
Should the university have intervened even if this girl showed no interest in getting help? Are they responsible to any degree?
I think Kay's final question here is important, but embedded within the story are questions that make advocates nervous on the score of empowerment, emancipation and involuntary commitment.