07/14 - Defining “Dangerous”

How does Louisiana determine if someone is a danger to themselves or others?

The California killings committed by Eliot Rodger in May have renewed the debate over how and whether to require people with serious mental illness to receive psychiatric care. How does Louisiana determine if someone is a danger to themselves or others? How difficult is it to intervene if an afflicted individual refuses treatment? Are prisons adequately prepared to handle mentally ill offenders? What services exist in the state for persons with mental health issues and have funding cuts reduced their availability? Louisiana Public Square looks for answers to these questions and more on Defining “Dangerous” airing Wednesday, July 23rd at 7 p.m. on LPB HD.

Our panelists are:
• William “Beau” Clark, M.D., Coroner, East Baton Rouge Parish
• Dr. Rochelle Head-Dunham / DHH, Office of Behavioral Health
• Michael S. Blue, M.D., Forensic Psychiatrist, Tulane University
• Sheriff Michael Waguespack, Assumption Parish, V.P. of the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association

The program also includes interviews with Nick Richard, Executive Director of the St. Tammany Parish Chapter of the National Alliance for Mental Illness; Bill O’Quin, the father of a young man suffering with paranoid schizophrenia who died while in prison; Kevin Robshaw, Director of Louisiana Mental Health Advocacy Services, and Tracey Moseley, an individual in recovery.

Beth Courtney, LPB CEO, and Charlie Whinham, LPB news anchor, will moderate the discussion.

Backgrounder

On May 23, 2014, in Isla Vista, California, 22-year-old Elliot Rodger. Rodger killed six people and injured thirteen others before committing suicide. While much attention was focused on the mental health of Rodger, the vast majority of people who have a mental illness are not violent, and more important, the vast majority of people who commit violence are not mentally ill. The American Psychiatric Association notes “individuals with mental illness engaged in regular treatment are considerably less likely to commit violent acts than those in need of, but not engaged in, appropriate mental health treatment.

...Read Full Backgrounder

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Our Panelists:

Additional Resources

Louisiana Mental Health Services – Link to Office of Behavioral Health

Behavioral Health Regional Offices - From La. Dept. of Health & Hospitals

Magellan Health Services – 1-800-424-4399 (Mental health information and resources for both members and the community)

The Phone (Crisis Counseling and Emotional Support Line) –1-800-437-0303

State Resources – from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

Louisiana NAMI Chapter

Test your mental health – Online tool to anonymously measure mood disorders

Warning signs of potential for violence – Provided to parents by American Psychological Association

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration – Federal Agency

Minority Mental Health Resources – July is Minority Mental Health Month

We want to know your opinion! Leave your comments in the box below.


I’m watching the show, which is very interesting, btw.  What I saw from the first half panel is kindness but unrealistic opinions, except from the law officer and the EMS professional.  The second half panel, being all professionals in all sectors was excellent. I’m very glad this is being discussed and hope the topic continues so that our citizens who need help can get it!

Posted by Jeanie Champagne  on  07/23  at  06:26 PM

As someone who has to use the state-run mental health system, I have to disagree with the panel that access to care is easy. It is far from the case. Yes, you can get an appointment to see a doctor and you can likely get on a medication regimen. However, as was stated by a woman with bipolar disorder early in the program, it takes years and years for many of us to get the right sort of medication “cocktail” so that we can be at peace. Currently I can only see my doctor every 2-3 months, if that. Between those times I am able to see my social worker once, maybe twice. Therapy is not an option as I cannot afford it. That is not adequate care for someone who is mentally ill, regardless of the severity.

Rather than spend much of the program deciding whether or not to force people to use medication or enroll them in programs, why not focus on making access and care more readily available. If the treatments are out there, scream that from the rooftops! Many people, like myself, desperately want to get help. Tell people it’s okay to get help and show them how. Stop treating mental illness like it’s the ugly stepchild and let’s take care of everyone equally.

Posted by JK  on  07/23  at  06:55 PM

Dr.Clark and Sheriff Waguespack spot on. Dr.Dunham -hog wash/smoke and mirrors.

Posted by carolyn stapleton  on  07/23  at  07:01 PM

Regarding your piece on dangerousness: How does one educate another about a subject that is fragmented and ever changing? One does not very effectively, nor do they make an effort. Quoting provider number stats is the best OBH has for its “talking points”? This does not indicate or begin to address utilization or efficacy. Here are some stats needing reporting: How many people are in jail awaiting services not being met in the community? Who is following them while they are incarcerated? When released where were they sent? with or without referrals for follow up? Did they follow up? How many people are in a hospital ED awaiting an acute hospital bed? Did they go to an Acute bed? How long did it take? if not, where or what ended the crisis? We need more reports on consumer outcomes not number of providers. The least DHH/OBH could do is to keep their web page of consumer resources current. The ELMHS Acute unit is not listed on their web page of Acute care units. http://new.dhh.louisiana.gov/index.cfm/directory/category/18

Posted by R Harville  on  07/28  at  08:19 AM
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