Sunday, August 13, 2017

No place to Go

"Is it right to commit mentally sick to sanatoriums? Or rather to respects their rights and allow them to live with us?"  No one can give an easy answer. With these questions, a health worker begins his article in the Catholic Times.

Recently a murder by a person under treatment for schizophrenia brought to the fore a movement to put those who are in treatment for mental illness in sanatoriums. Out of the 70 thousand in mental hospitals 10 thousand are conjectured to be released within the year. Recently the mental health law was changed which makes the commitment to a hospital difficult and release easy. Citizens do not have a consensus on how to deal with the mentally sick and the government remains confused. Christians have the example of Jesus to help us. He would not appreciate them becoming sacrificial lambs and would want to help them live human lives.

Differently than what the majority believe the mentally sick are not for the most part dangerous. In a report for the year, 2011 by the supreme prosecutor's office in the crimes that were perpetrated during that year only 10 percent were attributed to the mentally handicapped. Those who have been released and take their medicines are good neighbors. The problem is that many have no place to go. No friends with whom to talk, work opportunities are not available and find it difficult knowing what to do with their time.They are faced with the bias in society and the danger of giving up on their treatment and some return to drinking and drugs.

Some are still in hospitals because it's the cheapest place to keep them and the most efficient. The money set aside for the mentally sick is about 45 dollars which is about 1/6th of the budget in England and the United States. In Korea each person is responsible for about 80 persons which is two to three times more than the developed countries.

The efforts to build the infrastructure in society is missing, the efforts to make the entrance into mental hospitals more difficult will make opportunities for treatment less.

Many who have been discharged continue as out-patients.Those who have been addicted to drink have stopped drinking.Those with serious problems of schizophrenia or manic-depression, the acute manifestations of the disease are under control.

Those released from hospitals don't always find happiness. Societies' coldness and prejudices make it difficult. We need to prepare ourselves to accept those who are mentally compromised. We need to prepare to accept them with joy and need programs to help them to return to society. This over all will be a saving to  society. Our understanding of the mentally disturbed needs to be changed and resources need to be allotted to the work.