Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by JJJ, Dec 27, 2007.
Colleges take hard line on mental health problems
This is a real shame. We tell our kids that they have an illness, like asthma or diabetes. When will the rest of the world begin to think that way?
You must be kidding me. Can they sue for discrimination? Attitudes toward mental health are going backwards, not forward. Am I supposed to start telling difficult child "lie about it so you don't get in trouble", don't tell anyone or seek help? What does that message send? Then, how much potential is there for danger to self or others from untreated people with disorders?
But I see the other side of it too.
Remember Virgina Tech.
Like the article said, it's a very fine line that the colleges walk. I imagine this will be the source of heated debate and controversy for a long time.
The stigma of Viginia Tech and Columbine have changed the way our world responds to mental illness -- on the one hand, they are MUCH quicker to address red flags that are raised EARLIER in our kids than ever before. So at the elementary level we get the services and supports we need. But the sad part is that there is ZERO tolerance for troubled behaviors, regardless of the cause.
difficult child 2 got a taste of that this month. I feel like there is now a tremendous amount of pressure on me to quickly get his issues addressed and make sure his school SEES that I am being as proactive as humanely possible (like spending his latest supension days running to mental health appointments all over the county, and letting them know the extent of his treatments).
My question is how can we ensure that our kids are protected under the law without forcing them into a life of secrecy and suffering? Is it through the IEP? More extensive legislation? What do you all think?
Being from VA, I see the Va Tech side of it, but, I don't think the problem was necessarily letting Cho go to school there- kicking him out would have only sent his rage somewhere else. First, they don't have adaquate help here (in this state). Throwing a service in someone's path that isn't even a service for that particular mental health problem is just a token- almost put on for show to make it look like they tried so they can cover their rears. Secondly, I don't know if it requires a change in the law or what, but it seems to me that some people at Va Tech had some opportunity to help prevent this. I understand Cho chose to go on his way, but the intervention methods in place obviously weren't adequate. I'm a firm believer that intervention isn't "Get out". Maybe there should be more or longer involuntary detentions in psychiatric hospital's. I can't get the police to help me get mine to a hospital now, should I need it. And, God knows, if I thought he needed to go again in the future, I'd never be able to get him there on my own again.
Did anyone read any of the comments? Most were very good but one was horrible. Basically said that anyone "insane enough" to need medication should be institutionalized. Lovely.
Reading this article got my hackles in an uproar at first. If they can remove me because my medications go wacky and I become unstable then I want everyone that attends a frat party and gets totally wasted and drives drunk removed. I want everyone who gets stoned and yells out the dorm windows removed.
But the bigger worry is that they will blame all emotion that a person with mental illness on that mental illness. I have had that done to me. If I happen to get upset over something totally normal...say my dog died... and I am crying and sad, then someone can say "oh look, she is having a bipolar relapse."
I dont' believe there's adequate help in any state. I know there isn't here. Its like you said...no one wants it to be thier problem so they push them out. This happens with my difficult child all the time. No one really wants to dig in and really help because they don't want it to be their problem. Brain injury field doesn't want to deal with psychiatric issues because they don't feel its part of the brain injury and the mental health field doesn't want to deal with her because they feel brain injury specialists should. Crisis doesn't want to present her for a bed because they think its just a family squabble and when she does get in, they just want to treat her like a queen so she "appears" stable so they can send her home. Programs have been approved for her that wouldn't address her needs or be beneficial in any way. Unfortunately, we are not unique in being treated this way...it happens all the time.
As far as Cho, it seems there were people who did the right thing but there was not a whole lot they could do. I'm guessing the system broke down for him LONG before he hit Va Tech and the problem is not at the college level but in earlier years when families are knocking on doors and no one is answering.
So if they would have thrown Cho out before his rampage, my guess is he would have come back and done it anyways. Most mentally ill people are not violent. Psychopaths, like Ted Bundy, don't go for help or act mentally ill. THEY are the most dangerous people alive yet they can act "normal." I personally think it .
Schools are between a rock and a hard place. There have probably been no less than a dozen lockdowns in high schools in my immediate area so far this year due to bomb threats, suggestions of bomb threats, guns or lookalike guns in schools, etc. The copycat activity has become so prevalent that I told my junior higher to be mentally prepared because it would probably make it to his school soon.
This goes way beyond mental illness and into the area of liability for the schools involved. Unfortunate for all.
The bomb threats are the kids thinking they can get a day off school or a couple of hours out of class. Our school district was closed the day after 9/11 because someone called in a bomb threat. They caught the kid. Just wanted a day off school.
Immediately following Columbine, one local high school had bomb threats DAILY. Every single day all the kids had to line up outside the building for the bomb squad to come in and search it. A couple of hours out of class. This went on for a long time (over a month) before they finally said, we're not evacuating the building. Bomb squad can search around the kids. Stopped happening.
So, in my mind those are two complete separate issues. The ones that really want to blow the place up are just going to do it. They're not going to call ahead.
The problem is that we live in such a litigious society. We send students with mental illnesses to colleges and then threaten to hold the colleges legally responsible if the students hurt themselves or other students.
I guess one answer would be to pass laws that give the colleges immunity against law suits in cases like this.
This was a very interesting article because my easy child's college friend has an eating disorder and easy child and her friends have been begging the college for help for this girl. The girl is so thin that she has stopped menstrating and is losing hair and becoming forgetful. The ironic thing is she is pre-medication and wants to be a neurosurgeon.
While many friends/profs are worried about her, only easy child and two other friends confronted her. She is now mad at easy child and refuses to talk to her. easy child has called the school administrator and the wellness center and has been told that many others have called in their concerns for this girl also, and yet nothing has been done.
I would hate for the college to make this girl leave because that will only reinforce why she doesn't want to get help. But we are all afraid that she will die if she doesn't get help soon.
Do any anorexic support support groups have an intervention program similar to AA? I used to have a friend who was anorexic/bulimic and fortunately, she didn't die from it. But, what I learned is that it doesn't necessarily kill you outright- she is left with organ damage from what she did. I think it resulted in her never being able to have children, among other things.
KLMNO, there are support groups for eating disorders, whether it be overeating, undereating, binging/purging, you name it. There is help out there. Like AA meetings, these meetings are there for the person who wants help from them. Nobody could make this gal (or anyone) go to a meeting until and unless she admitted that she had a problem with anorexia (or bulimia, or obesity, drugs, gambling, whatever the meeting is for) and was willing to get help for it.
I'm afraid that untreated, worst case scenario, one very well could die of an eating disorder
As I understand it and from what I have researched, once a person is as far gone as she is, that person needs inpatient help and quite honestly the success rate is not very good. Meetings don't help until the person's malnutrition is addressed. This girl is very seriously ill, she excercises vigorously twice a day in the college rec for 2 hours at a time, running very fast, and then goes outside and runs another hour at night. She eats virtually nothing and vomits every day. Her eyes are sunk in and her face is shallow, her bones stick out of her back and her back is bleeding from the weight and pressure of her bookbag.
The fact that this girl is in pre-medication with science and medical professors all day every day is even more alarming. The sad fact is that there is very little that can be done. She is at odds with her parents because they are worried also. She is an adult. Unless someone takes guardianship over her and forces her into treatment she won't get it.
This is a real thorny issue. These schools are violating these kid's rights under the ADA. Can they sue? Sure. Is suing cost effective? Probably not. The best course of action if any of our kids are affected by this is to file a complaint with the state or local human rights office.
Be sure to keep track of who writes to you, when they contact you and what they say. If the writer is a lawyer, and has facts incorrect, you can file a complaint with the state board that regulates lawyer conduct.
If the writer is a medical professional of some kind and is making false statements or providing some kind of medical or psychological review, you may be able to complain to the licensing agency that has jurisdiction over that profession.
These colleges are also accredited. Some of them are financed through the state legislature. This brings up two other places to complain to. The accrediting agency for that college or university and the state legislature or you federal Senator or Congressperson.
Litigation very rarely solves anything, and even when it does, you end up spending so much time, energy and emotions on it that it's a phyrric victory. Complaining to various agencies takes up these peoples time and energy. At the very least they will get tired of dealing with us. Hopefull this will result in letting our kids back in while giving our kids the resources they need to be successful.
This is such a sad and difficult issue.
I have a easy child who I want to protect from being attacked by someone who is out of control or someone who commits suicide. It is an awful experience for anyone to be exposed to at any age.
You hope that when you send a child off to school that there are reasonable expectations of safety.
Also I hope that if my child is exhibiting dangerous and threatening behavior that someone steps in to put in motion safeguards for everyone involved.
I wish we could take "sue" out of the equation. It forces schools, hospitals and businesses into drastic anti sue mentality. It is also our only protection in a situation where nothing else works. Unfortunately people use that word like a club until the point that it becomes useless.
In situations where someone does something awful like Va Tech, the reaction always goes into overkill. Thousands of kids with mental illness go to school and manage to not kill anyone or themselves. We end up doing knee jerk reactions to one incident instead of looking at the big picture of how to prevent things from getting so bad with a student that danger is imminent.
easy child's school had to put up plexi glass walls on the open stair wells of the large library because of a few students jumped!!!! It's terrifying. I called the wellness center when I was concerned about easy child. Not of suicide but he felt out of place and alone. I didn't want him to make a decision to drop out or continue based on how he felt at that time but to resolve the issues. I must say I got a call within 10 min of my e mail and they contacted easy child within an hour. There was a lot of supports in place. It works great for a easy child. I wonder if it were a difficult child if it would have made any difference. If your thinking is distorted nothing reasonable works.
I hope that blame will be eliminated. It's not the school's fault. In a lot of situations a parent is limited also. My difficult child is an adult. I have no right to his medical information or psychiatric records. I can't even address his prescriptions because of HIPPA. They should call it HIPPIA. I have no authority to do anything in his behalf(except pay for what ever program he needs).
Let's hope that the issue of mental illness doesn't lead to depersonalizing the mentally ill. They are people like everyone else. They have limitations but they are still people who need to be part of the world. They need educations, jobs, love, and social connections. Ostracizing them is a cruel and barbaric thing. Ignoring their cries for help is equally cruel and barbaric.
I can see the colleges point of view in that they are to provide academic services and there are lawsuits filed against them for all kinds of reasons and especially for not providing a safe environment. I taught at a technical school this was in the 70's and the instructors referred anyone with any hint of psychiatric malfunction to see a psychologist for therapy and I never heard of anyone not going. As long as they went they were allowed to stay in school.
I went to a large University 35,000 you were truly on your own and the last thing any instructor would do is monitor someone's mental health. There were such large classes it was all they could do to teach the material. My difficult child wants to go to a large institution. I am not for it because it is so unstructured and you have such little interaction with teachers.
This article which surprised me was you could be dismissed
for to me what were minor reasons. The only thing that is good compared to the past is that at least people are talking about the issues.
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