I really shouldn't. Just watched an attempt at a witch-hunt and it's just made me so angry that I have to vent.
The story - a man murdered whilst out cycling. His killer had been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic with violent tendancies in the past. The pople in the strudio were the brother of the victim, a woman who heads up a support group for victims of this kind of crime, and a clinical psychiatrist there to give his professional opinion. It all starts with an overly dramatised thing with bullet points saying how many times the killer had been in and out of secure units. By the time the voice over got to "he voluntarily went to such-and-such a hospital for treatment, but tellingly wasn't sectioned." I was already scowling at the screen.
Of course he wasn't sectioned, the point of being 'sectioned' is when people with mental illness are a danger to themselves or society and are not aware of that danger. This guy knew he needed help and sought it out. The fact that he then walked out of the hospital without getting that help and committed murder is a sign that the treatment system as it stands is not working, not that he should have been locked away the minute he was diagnosed.
That's the point the psychiatrist tried to make, he pointed out that mental health hospitals are under such pressure to 'treat and street' the patients that there unforunately are a lot of cases where people are released who don't get the treatment they need and end up committing crimes such as this.
Valid point, you'd think, but oh no. The presenters jumped on him and did the whole pulling on the emotions to get the viewing audience to agree with their viewpoint that everyone with a history of metal illness should be locked up and out of harms way. Fern Britton sat there and said "we don't want to go back to those times, but there used to be places to put these people."
Despite the fact that I was fuming at the way they tried to demonize the psychiatrist, I watched the whole segment, I sat through the whole thing and I'm shocked that the presenters apparently can't see that they're actually making an already bad situation worse.
Care in the community doesn't work? No, because idiots like these presenters make damn sure it doesn't. They're furthering the stigmatization of mental health patients. I fully agree that the current mental health system doesn't work, but the reasons it's not working are far too many to be listed on a ten minute segment on a daytime television show. Hospitals, psychiatrists, social workers, care workers, they all are under so much pressure that of course things are missed, the psychiatrist on the show made the point that they don't have the time they need with each patient, they can miss the warning signs because sometimes there aren't warning signs.
I'm ranting, sorry. My heart goes out to the victim's brother, to the family of the girl who was found murdered in the train station in my village whose killer was a mental health patient in a community care house, to the families of all the victims. But to react in the way these presenters did, to advocate a return to draconian measures, what next? It wasn't that long ago that single girls who dared to get pregnant were locked away in asylums, it wasn't that long ago that a Glaswegian called RD Laing was advocating trepanning as a cure for all mental illness. (drilling holes in the skull to 'relieve the pressure on the brain') We've moved away from that now, we can see how short-sighted and wrong these actions are - but the presenters on this show seem to indicate that we should be going back to those times.
Oh, and the next segment on this show? Has Posh Spice had a boob job.