A quick trip down the Jaffe road

National Review
http://www.nationalreview.com/article/416391/federal-mental-health-policy-needs-reform-now-d-j-jaffe
【from Next Browser】

A sure sign people are under significant stress is when confronted with issues their behavior regresses to previous levels. This post is vintage DJ Jaffe- slash and burn, thunder and lightening, a clamor for righteousness in a sinful world- and it would seem there
is some real stress amongst the Murphy boys. It is DJ Jaffe with the volume turned up in hopes no one will actually hear what he is saying.

The general message is Samsha has messed things up, even the people who work there don’t like it even though the get paid more than other people and aren’t even doctors and Samsha being such a bad place must be why there are more people in jails than in psychiatric hospitals and why there are so many homeless mentally ill and the Murphy Bill (which has many democratic co-sponsors) may not solve everything but it sure can get rid of Samsha.

This article has a lot in it but this line takes the gold medal: ” The sole opposition to reform comes from those who receive funds from SAMHSA and want its budget increased.” In other words, only someone in it for the money could possibly be against the Murphy boys. This strikes a new low. The only people who oppose you are those getting rich and/or powerful from supporting what you oppose. Come on. Nonsense like this explains why the Murphy Bill never moved last year and its greatest obstacle to moving this year. It could never build a coalition to move it last year. The only way to move it is to build a coalition by reaching to those who have doubts and questions. Slander is not a good opening move. It will not be enough, although they are certainly good at it, to fire up the people who are already true believers. The Murphy guys have an image problem with those who disagree. They are self-righteous to the max, blaming and attacking, and not willing to listen to anything they don’t already agree with. I really question how far they will go unless they do something about their positive addiction to putting their foot in their mouth.

But I would go even further. Since Torrey and Jaffe have such an affection to the “you cant believe them they have a conflict of interest” card I would challenge both of them to publicly disclose donors, especially organizational or corporate sponsors with a statement about whether or not those donors stand to financially profit from the measures TAC advocates for. I saw for example that Rep Murphy gets financial support from psychiatric hospitals, pharmaceuticals and gun folks. Is the same true of Torrey and Jaffe? If they are to throw stones they could at least disclose rather or not they live in glass houses. It sure seems like a fair question.

I have another favorite quote. After saying that a lot of people who work at Samsha don’t like the way it is run and this is proof it is “rotting from the inside” he writes :

“The failure of SAMHSA to do its job could explain why, in spite of spending $130 billion on mental health, America has ten times as many persons with serious mental illness incarcerated as hospitalized, why 165,000 seriously mentally ill are homeless, and why headlines are full of reports of seriously mentally ill people who, as a result of lack of access to treatment, become involved in horrific acts of violence — like the mom who was found with her dead baby in a New York City restroom on Monday…”

Is it just me or does that statement seem a little bit bizarre? Talk about overkill. The incompetency of Samsha proven by the fact that it is not the most popular place to work in the US government has lead to the collapse of a system which (he seems to imply) would otherwise be okay. Simple minded. Naive. Distorted. Those are the first words that come to mind to describe this. Who exactly are they trying to convince with this stuff??

And one last point and I hate to be picky. He writes that because of Samsha people lack access to treatment…(No I don’t understand either and forgetting the rank political opportunism of trying to use the tragedy in Brooklyn to promote his political agenda) what does he think Rep Murphy’s rabid opposition to the ACA might have to do with “lack of access?” He normally talks about being a liberal democrat when that question is brought up but perhaps he is still working on an answer.

One last quote(there is a wealth of claims to consider in this article. I leave it to you to read further) ” If SAMHSA were loaded with doctors, high pay might make sense, but in spite of increasing the number of SAMHSA employees by 18 percent between 2008 and 2013, the SAMHSA administrator, Pam Hyde, still has only a single doctor on her team. The lack of in-house mental-illness expertise could help explain why SAMHSA policies have been so ineffective, inconsistent, and wasteful.”

The part about lack of expertise is what I would like to comment on. I am 63 years old and have had over 40 years working in the mental health field. I have worked with some I thought were gifted and even more importantly decent people. I have known some that are on a good day merely stupid. I have known many whose impact on the people they served was simply hurtful and even evil. In no setting that I worked was the psychiatrist seen as the fount and sole repository of any expertise. More than once they were the people with the narrowest frame of reference. The old phrase about if all you have is a hammer everything is a nail. Most psychiatrists I’ve known are death on nails but often lacking on people. They basically do 5-10 medication checks and the idea they are instrumental to policy or programs are with some exceptions simply not true. Treatment is not what people do with patients that the psychiatrist tells them to do. It just isn’t reality.

There is much in this article. My primary question is who do they think all this is going to convince and I would submit if stuff like this and Dr Torreys attack on fruit smoothies are the best they can do they are in real trouble. Personally I doubt that the massacre of Samsha can get this bill passed. It just doesn’t address the very real issues and problems most people have with this bill.

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