I made it through, “No One Care’s About Crazy People” by Ron Powers (shortened the full title past the colons.)
I cried and had to take breaks through it. The book was published in the direct era before the TW (Trigger warning) festival ever began but just for anyone reading, talk of suicide or the suicide of a loved one is mentioned throughout the book. It’s relatively brief and opaque in reference but there. Mostly it’s just sad. The author’s sons were very familiar to me. Kevin and Dean Powers seemed to at least be cut of much of the same amazing artistic cloth as my brother although his drug use and current mental state wouldn’t have you believe it. He was a very gifted musician and the years of struggle and idleness have dulled most of his abilities to the point of being a shadow of what they used to be, if it will ever be possible for him to rebuild the muscle memory and ability is to be seen.
I have a timeline running for mental health treatment in the U.S and basically have a small mountain to sift through thanks the appendix.
What the book has made me realize is that we were promised community healthcare facilities on the verge of deinstitutionalization that were never built. Support networks and legal structures that were supposed to give MI patients freedom has made them essentially free to die in a gutter. This is no better than the Asylum related deaths deinstitutionalization was supposed to prevent. Thanks to continual budget cuts, no one wants to take care of the crazy people, so somehow, the lack of adequate housing is acceptable. It is “acceptable” that people in the U.S who are homeless and mentally ill face a life expectancy roughly equivalent to a pauper in Bangladesh today or a moderately wealthy but still less likely to survive peasant from the Middle Ages, roughly 45 years.
I don’t know how I will get through writing anything about this (to a senator or someone who might listen) but I want to do something. The idea that the poor, mentally ill, or those at risk of being mentally ill and therefore lacking treatment, have basically been cast aside by policy makers and communities alike is appalling. My stakes in the book and in the call to action are really too close to home. We’d rather not see my brother (or anyone else) become homeless as a result of their illnesses but the gaps in the social safety net that have persisted for years rarely ever seem to have closed. Despite Kennedy’s promises, Reagan’s reassurances of “guided” community care, and the last round of discombobulated legislation that is/was Obama Care things continue to flounder.
Call it what you like if you disagree with the idea of Socialized healthcare but for many the idea or at least a better way for the mentally ill and their caregivers to access that care is needed. The book doesn’t end as a policy letter and is biopic in style (Ron has a right to be proud of both of his sons) so it is an easy read. It’s a touch wordy but nothing the kindle dictionary app can’t handle as far as looking for weird or outdated words.