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Now what do I do?

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aztecan:
I am encountering an increasing number of people who, aside from having HIV, have mental health issues.

I can deal with people suffering with depression, AIDS-related dementia and the like. But I also deal with people who hear voices telling them to do things.

In one case, there is a woman who will tell me she has been talking to God. That means its a good day. If she says she's been talking to the devil, I was advised by some local health care professionals to call the cops and hope they get there before something happens.

I want to help, but don't know how and it is really beginning to frustrate me.

To make matters worse, some of these folks are self-medicating, often with crystal meth. Not a good idea. It really does complicate things.

Damn Ronald Raygun.

Any suggestions?

Mark

Matty the Damned:
Mark,

First up I applaud you for your work. It's heartening to know that people with mental illness can turn to you for support.

People with mental illness (as you'd know) are amongst the most marginalised and oppressed in our societies. Nevertheless, the can also exhibit the most "challenging behaviours." If you ever fear for your safety or the safety of others or indeed the safety of the mentally ill person then you need to call the police.

However, I understand your concern. Handing the people with severe psychotic conditions over to the coppers is never an easy thing. In Australia far too many people in prison should really be in mental wards. Do you have an effective network of mental health workers you can refer people to? I know that your home state is a little more progressive than others when it comes to drug issues. Are there effective drug and alcohol services who can help here?

MtD
(Who knows only too well the appalling way in which the mentally ill are treated)

dane7484:

--- Quote from: aztecan on June 27, 2006, 01:52:55 AM ---I am encountering an increasing number of people who, aside from having HIV, have mental health issues.

I can deal with people suffering with depression, AIDS-related dementia and the like. But I also deal with people who hear voices telling them to do things.

In one case, there is a woman who will tell me she has been talking to God. That means its a good day. If she says she's been talking to the devil, I was advised by some local health care professionals to call the cops and hope they get there before something happens.

I want to help, but don't know how and it is really beginning to frustrate me.

To make matters worse, some of these folks are self-medicating, often with crystal meth. Not a good idea. It really does complicate things.

Damn Ronald Raygun.

Any suggestions?

Mark


--- End quote ---

From the postings I've seen on this Forum, perhaps this is not the best place to ask for suggestions on what to do about such an issue? There seems to be quite a few posting here on this forum that are also suffering with depression, AIDS-related dementia, mental health issues and the like.

Damn Ronald Raygun? Huh? You're not blaming that dead prez from the last century are you?

I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts.....

aztecan:
Matty,

There isn't as much help here as is needed. We do now have a psychiatric wing in the local hospital.

Up until a few years ago, the nearest was Albuquerque, three hours away.

Luring psychiatrists/psychologists/couselors to the boonies isn't easy either. Most opt for more urban areas where greater financial rewards can be reaped.

This also highlights the plight of those who are indigent or unable to cough up the usually considerable dough needed for care.

While the law now requires health insurance plans to cover mental health as well as physical health, most of the people I see are either uninsured or are on medicaid/medicare, which is government-supported health care.

I have managed to enroll a counselor with us here, so at least I can refer people to her and she can refer people to other care if need be - and if a payor source can be found. That is something, I guess.

I just feel woefully inadequate in dealing with this and wish there was some way to change that.

Dane, I can deal with depression, dementia and the like. It is the more serious or, should I say, overt mental health issues such as schizophrenia that gives me pause.

And, yes, I am blaming Ronnie Reagan. It was he who dismantled the mental health care system in in this country, saying private money and care would take up the slack.

It hasn't.

HUGS,

Mark

(Who isn't old enough to have forgotten the Reagan years.)

Matty the Damned:
I disagree (rsepectfully) with Dane about posting this here. Mental health issues are leading concern for HIV positive people. Just because some here may have such problems is certainly not a reason to avoid discussing such issues. Also Living With is a high traffic forum, and Mark will get more responses here.

Mark,

Will the organisation you work for send you for some training in working with people with mental health issues? If an increasing number of your your clients present with these issues, it seems to me that your organisations needs to equip you accordingly.

MtD

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