Yes, yes, yes. If you read our earlier post on the statistics of mental illness in this country, many of the numbers cited by John Oliver will be familiar. But this video is still well worth watching:
Did you know that:
As a society, we are abandoning our severely mentally ill to homelessness and incarceration. We "got mad as hell" and founded the Living Assistance Fund (aka LAF). We are paying for residential care when individuals and families cannot afford it. Help us help others by making a donation
Hard to believe we are already halfway through 2015. This year is flying by. Recently, a long time family friend asked why we started The LivingAssistance Fund. We gave the explanation we use in this (brand new!!!) video - that most residential care for individuals with psychosis is private pay. But upon reflection, we established LAF because it's just plain wrong that as a society, we have abandoned our mentally ill population. The consequences are clear:
Our latest fund raising idea is to create some T-shirts that will be sent to all donors. We are looking for ideas for our slogan! Current suggestions are,
We want to thank Sarah, McLean Hospital and the Appleton program for their efforts in making this video. Many thanks to Andrew Martin for donating his time and energy to film and edit the videos for us. Andrew is a musician and he composed the music especially for us! As always, we appreciate your support. Every little bit helps us expand our reach to help those who need it. Talk about LAF on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter with your friends & relatives!
Monica & David
We received some very wise advice recently - what's the data on the problem we are trying to solve? Turns out it is not hard to find, there's more information than can be reasonably summarized in a single blog. Here's some compelling information (Information and quotes from the linked articles, although we have added emphasis):
Here at The Living Assistance Fund we continue to explore ways to help and support these broader solutions. In the meantime, our fund raising focuses on helping individuals and families BEFORE someone becomes homeless or ends up in jail. On the short term, that looks more expensive (3 months of care might cost the same as a year on the streets), but this is only partially a monetary effort. For one thing, few people are only homeless or imprisoned for one year. For another, if that entire experience can be avoided that is hugely better for the individual and their family. Help us or help one of these organizations. Raise consciousness about the real price we are paying, as a society, by turning a blind eye to the lack of care for our most severely mentally ill. Use Twitter, Facebook, tell your friends!
While at the McLean National Council event in October, a colleague said something that has been reverberating in my head lately. Why is it that when someone is diagnosed with a mental illness we say, “Joe is a paranoid schizophrenic” or “Mary is bipolar”? We would never say, “John is cancerous” when someone is diagnosed with cancer. We would say "John has cancer." This mode of speech is defining the individual by their illness, not as someone who has an illness. Ironically, the only illness I can think of besides mental illnesses where this happens is diabetes. We definitely say “Sally is diabetic.” Not sure why these seem to go together.
On the one hand we define a person entirely by their mental illness through speech at the same time that we trivialize their diagnosis by using those same diagnoses as figures of speech. There’s a great article here on that point (another reason this is on my mind). The one that gets under my skin the most (and I heard it at work in the last week), is when someone cannot make up their mind about something and say “I’m so schizophrenic.” Talk about something you really don’t want to have!
It’s like a song I can’t get out of my head… is anyone else hearing this tune? What do you think about this? Please comment or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org!
The recent 60 Minutes segment: Denied is opening up a conversation in the media that is long overdue. Through this, we learned about the work that Patrick Kennedy has been doing to establish parity of coverage. Check out the Kennedy Forum website for more information and to see his interview with CBS on their morning show.
If only parity would mean residential care - it actually doesn't. And as the 60 Minutes segment shows, residential care remains expensive and unpaid.
Excited to be hearing a national conversation at long last on these topics, along with the relationship to stigma about mental illness and its treatment. Everyone can do their part by speaking out and talking openly on these topics.
As the year closes out (where did 2014 go?), here at the Living Assistance Fund we are reflecting on our first year of existence. In less than a year, while keeping our "day jobs," we have been able to
We are talking about where we need to take things in 2015 to step up to the next level. If you have ideas or knowledge - drop us a line or post on this blog!
I’ve had an interesting couple of days at the McLean National Council meeting. While it was a great event, with lots of things to learn, there were a couple of amazing highlights for me
Beyond those highlights, there was information on amazing research that is happening at McLean on PTSD, anabolic steroid use, cardiac concerns for psychotic patients and much, much, more. It was a very busy day and a half and there’s so much to think through, that I’m sure there’s another blog here.
We just got the news that our LAF scholarship recipient was awarded the Ashforth Family scholarship for the month of October…so he will have a total of 4 months and one week paid for at Appleton!!! He qualified for application to this scholarship because he was already at Appleton through LAF.
In late June we were made aware of a young man in need of assistance from our fund. He is college age and has been able to receive hospital care through his parents health insurance, but the family was unable to pay for the residential care he needed. He had been an in-patient at McLean Hospital several times earlier in the year as he would cycle in and out of the hospital. He really needed the support of a residential program and he met our criteria of having a psychotic disorder.
With the help of generous donors (like you) in a very short amount of time (Dec 2013 to July 2014), we were able to fund him at McLean Appleton for the three months the clinical team believed he needed. As is often the case, as he is approaching the end of the time (end of September), the team has determined that he would really benefit from some more time. We no longer have the funds to help, but he is now eligible for another program that provides financial assistance for Appleton. That fund requires that someone already be in care and will help families extend for a short period of time. So, not only were we able (with your help!) to provide initial residential care, but due to that, he was eligible for this other program. We believe we have made a significant difference in his recovery (at least we hope so!)
So please, donate if you can, but also please tell others about our work. We anxiously want to be ready when the next opportunity comes to help someone in need. The need comes up very quickly, and we need to be in a position to act so that it can be a smooth transition from hospitalization to residential care.