A mental health advocate reported an interesting conversation to me he had with DJ Jaffe.
According to the advocate he was trying to talk to Jaffe about the value of peer support and the recovery model. Jaffe reportedly cut the conversation short.
(And this is paraphrasing from what I was told) “I am not interested in any of that. I am only interested in the 4% that don’t know they are sick….”
He said more than that, but that short statement leads to a bunch of different reactions:
What about the 96%? The problem with the mental health system is way past 4% of anything. Too many people lack access to services (again Murphy is against health care reform), too many of the services offered are not very effective, and the system as a whole stigmatizes the people who use it and that is barely scratching the surface.
What about the 334,000 mentally ill people in jail? Are they part of the 4%? How do they know? Is there some type of proof past their assertions? Does anyone really believe that for 334,000 people that criminal behavior was the result of a deficiency of AOT time or psychiatric hospitalization? Is anyone really that simple minded?
What about truth in advertising? The “4% and only the 4%” doesn’t really sound much like the deliverance of the mental health system the Murphy Bill promises. They are building a 7-11 and calling it a shopping mall. And it isn’t even much of a convenience store.
How do they know the 4% is 4%? There are 6.5 million people in Tennessee. About 350,000 receive mental health services. A little over 21000 are in prison. 4% of 6.5 million is 260,000 people. Where are they????? By definition they are not in the mental health system. They don’t know they have a problem. They are not filling the jails. They are not filling the psychiatric hospitals (Tennessee has about 12000 committals a year and some of those are repeats). Where are they? How can 260,000 thousand people with severe mental illness go undetected?? Severe mental illness should have severe life impacting symptoms that can not be hidden. Losing 260,000 thousand people would be like the 5th or 6th largest city in Tennessee disappearing. Where did they go?
The answer is that the 4% was never there to begin with. That number is one of the most unchallenged pieces of mythology in all of Torrey land. Do the math for your state. You will find a lot of people missing that Torrey and Jaffe assure you are there.
AOT is strongest in New York. They serve 2000 people..
1/3 is 1%. And it is one heck of a large assumption to even believe all of those 2000 are anosognosic.
If you look at closely what is Jaffe really for… not much for very many.
Let your legislator know today what you are for.