Seize the Moment

December 19, 2017 by  

It wasn’t a typical award for me – receiving the ‘Humility Recognition’ in December, which is why I made it a point to invite my family to join me for the special event.  I would be honored for work I helped facilitate in the Legislature in the mental health arena – such as significant Board of Behavioral Health reforms, strengthening system oversight and accountability and rewriting Arizona’s HIPAA laws helping families and physicians know they can actually communicate with one another lawfully for the benefit of the patient.

Unlike others, this Celebration plugged me into a place normally reserved only for professionals in the field as the five nominees are chosen by their peers – plus I was given time to address the group.  All five recipients were – and I was truly humbled to be counted among the special individuals dedicated to serving the community in important and diverse ways.  Even Senate staff was there to cover the event and sent out this press release.

I don’t do it for the publicity, however.  The issue holds professional and personal meaning for me.  My brother developed schizophrenia in his young adulthood – causing untold heartache for himself and our family for decades – ending with his untimely demise at the age of 40 – alone and homeless.  Our family’s experience, unfortunately, was and is typical of that of so many families today – faced with a similar sudden crisis and little direction on how to best help their loved one.  Which is why it is so important to highlight what is – and isn’t being done – on this issue.

There are many reasons to be focused on Arizona’s dysfunctional, but resource-heavy behavioral health system, at this time – not the least of which are the sheer numbers of mentally ill individuals incarcerated in our state (Solving this issue can go a long way towards reducing recidivism!). And right now there is an unprecedented opportunity to fix the gaping holes in the system by using the Arizona State Hospital land appropriately.  This editorial written by families in the system expresses their concerns and hope that Arizona will not miss this important opportunity, but will Sieze the Moment.  Here is the full version of the editorial posted at Mental Health America.



2 Responses to “Seize the Moment”
  1. Ginger Niesen says:

    I too have experienced how poorly we treat the mentally ill. It has impacted our streets, schools, churches, and homes. Thank you for your hard work! I wish so many other legislatures realized we need this.

  2. William Geibel says:

    We just had 6 Mentally Ill people die in our county Jail in the last year.

    Andrew Holland a friend of my schizophrenic son died after being strapped into a restraining chair for three days, naked and left to die, in our San Luis Obispo, Ca. county jail.
    My son was in jail at the same time, he is now out homeless just waiting to be picked up again for petty crimes and locked up for months. We need help!!!!! He was court order to take meds and check in, but because of the HIPPI laws I can’t find out if he is checking in somewhere? Going Crazy as a father…

    There are successful treatment Center, assisted outpatient treatment, Mental Health courts, but not here, Help Help Help

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