When crisis becomes routine

Britney Spears returned to the hospital, committed because of a psychiatric disorder, which has received more press over the past weeks than the Hindenburg disaster.

Whether she is truly bipolar or merely caught up in the sadness of a paparazzi-driven life, there is no question that something needs to give. The tragedy, however, goes far beyond this one girl’s struggle to maintain her mental health and [her] place on the pop charts.

The papers reported that Ms. Spears had two helicopters and 12 police cars accompanying her on the trip from her home to the facility where she was to receive treatment.

Here in ordinary-person-land, the reality is that every day there are countless individuals in need of psychiatric help who end up being turned away from the nation’s hospitals and clinics for lack of beds. In Western North Carolina alone, the ERs are filled to capacity with people who should receive the same intensity of intervention for their psychiatric illnesses that is given to heart attacks, strokes and automobile accidents. And yet we continue to hear horror story after tragic tale of people—many times our children and youth—who end up warehoused in the wrong place for hours, while overworked and perplexed professionals attempt to find some place to send them.

The truth of the mental-health crisis in our nation is far from a bevy of vehicles accompanying distraught celebrities to hospitals and rehab facilities. We are shouting our lack of priorities from the rooftops.

— Marlisa Mills
Black Mountain

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One thought on “When crisis becomes routine

  1. diane bauknight

    Excellent and well written commentary on the tragedy of our mental health care system in North Carolina. My daughter, who has severe mental illness, ended up institutionalized for 3 years due to lack of crisis services in North Carolina.

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