How to Help a Mentally Ill Family Member Who by jnp12134


									The Official Newsletter of NAMI Wyoming                                          July-August 2008

Inside this issue:                  How to Help a Mentally Ill Family Member
How to Help a Men- Pages
tally Ill Family   1-3
                                            Who Has Been Arrested
                                  This is, tragically, not that uncom-    chapters of California and Wisconsin.
European States      Pages 1   mon a concern for families of schizo-      Depending on your state regulations,
Treat Mental Illness & 3       phrenia patients. It's important to        these may or may not work for you.
Patients Prefer In-   Page 3   know that people with schizophrenia        Look up your local Protection and
jections                       are not more violent than the average      Advocacy Agency
“In Our Own Voice” Page 4      person—as long as they are receiving       (,
Training                       adequate treatment. However, it is         which offers services for mentally ill
Help Pass Insurance Page 4     increasingly difficult for people with     citizens, and ask for legal advice per-
Parity                         schizophrenia to get and stay in treat-    taining to your area.:
Generalized Anxiety Page 5     ment, and this is perhaps why about 1
Disorder                       in 6 inmates have some sort of mental         1) Offer your support. Help your
                               illness.                                       loved one stay calm, and remind
Continued from Page 1
                                  Once someone has been arrested,            him/her of legal rights (right to an
  their daily lives            they are in the domain of the legal sys-       attorney, etc).
  this is the meeting          tem, which can be just as, if not more,       2) Contact the local jail where
  for you. For more            confusing than the medical system.            your relative is being held. Let the
  info contact Rita            Right now there is not very good coor-         official in charge know that your
  Overfield at 527-            dination between these two systems to         relative has a psychiatric disorder,
  7068 or Peg Strow            help offenders with brain disease.             and give information about the
  at 587-9426.                 However, there are some things that           specific diagnosis and symptoms.
• New Wyoming Men-
                               you can do, and some resources you             Ask how long your loved one is
  tal Health & Sub-            can tap.                                      expected to be held, and ask the
  stance Abuse Om-                The following suggestions have              jail staff about arranging a psychi-
  budsman, Patti Rob-          been adapted for general use from             atric evaluation. If he/she is
  erts Ms. Roberts will        NAMI publications by the                                             Continued on Page 2
  discuss the status of
CONTACT US!                       European States Treat Mental Illness Before It Becomes
:NAMI Wyoming                                        Prison Problem
133 West 6th St.                   A Tennessee judge’s recent trip to     Health Drug courts and a collabora-
Casper, WY 82601                The Netherlands to speak at an inter-     tive effort that will provide residential
Tel: 1-888-882-4968             national conference provides a Euro-      drug therapy and mental health treat-
Email: nami-                    pean perspective on treating mental       ment for individuals in the criminal             illness. Dan Einstein, a judge in         justice system who suffer from both
Website:                        Davidson County, Tennessee pre-           serious mental illness and drug addic-             sented a symposium about the Mental                                 Continued on Page 3
Page 2                                             National Alliance on Mental Illness

Calendar Continued:         How to Help a Mentally Ill Family Member Who Has Been
                                            Arrested (Continued)
     and changes in the    Continued from Page 1                       the staff in conducting their own as-
     Ombudsman pro-             seriously ill, you can ask for a       sessment before placing your loved
     gram.. Thu. Sept.          police transport to a psychiatric      one in a mental health unit. Keep the
     4th at 7 PM, Uni-          hospital (this is called a "5150"      information in the fax medical re-
     tarian Universalist        hold) for three days of evaluation     lated only, and keep a copy for fu-
     Church, 3005               and treatment. Ask about the pos-      ture reference.
     Thomes, Chey-              sibility of receiving medication at
     enne.                      the holding facility (it seems like      5) Find out if there are any Men-
 •   “In Our Own                medication is generally available        tal Health Courts in your area -
     Voice” Training,           only at County jails, not city           these are special courts that
     Oct. 17th-19th,            ones).                                   assist mentally ill offenders.
     Casper. Call               3) Notify your loved one's psy-          Sometimes these courts make
     NAMI Wyoming               chiatrist, case manager, and the         decisions to release an offender
     office at 307-265-         jail medical staff or administrator      (after a certain portion of the sen-
     2573 or 888-882-           of the situation, and stress the im-     tence is served) on the condition
     4968 for info.             portance of continuing uninter           that the person remain in an ap-
     Also, see Page 4           rupted medical care.                     proved treatment program.
     of this newsletter.        4) If and when your relative is          6) Decide about legal representa-
                               transferred to a county jail facil-       tion. If you do not have a private
                               ity, contact them and ask for             attorney, your loved one will be
                               their location and booking num-           assigned a public defender. Don't
                               ber. Ask if you can fax over in-          automatically assume that the
                               formation regarding your                  public defender will do a less
                               relative's medical diagnosis, and         credible job than a private one; do
                               ask about placement in a mental           some research and find out about
                               health unit (if available).               all options. A local support group
                                                                         such as a NAMI chapter might be
                           Information about your relative to            a good resource for this, if other
                           provide to the jail facility staff:           families have had experience in
                              • Diagnosis                                the local legal system. Also, see
                              • Psychiatrist's                           the American Bar Association's
                                name/phone/address                       (
                              • Medical doctor's                         lawpract1.html)
                                name/phone/address                       7) Resources you can contact for
                              • Medications with dosages and             assistance:
                                times to be administered                     --The National Association of
                              • Side effects that your loved one             Protection and Advocacy Sys-
                                experiences                                  tems (
                              • History of suicide                           --The Bazelon Center for
                                threats/attempts                            Mental Health Laws -
                              • Other medical conditions and       (202-
                                medications prescribed for                  467-5730)
                                them                                         --The Treatment Advocacy-
                                                                            Center –
                           Providing this information can help                                Continued on Page 3
                                                  National Alliance on Mental Illness                         Page 3

                                 How to Help a Mentally Ill Family Member Who Has Been Arrested
                                Continued from Page 2
                             (703-         Northumberland Nightmare (author
                                       294-6001).                            Paul L. Wegkamp), written by a fa-
                                      --The Consensus Project - a na-        ther whose mentally ill son was
                                      tional effort to improve the ser       charged and incarcerated for robbing
                                      vices to people with mental            a bank. He writes about difficult en-
                                      illness in the criminal justice        counters with both the legal and
                                      system                                 medical system in the struggle to get
                                      (         fair and decent treatment for his son

                                An excellent book on this subject is

                                   European States Treat Mental Illness Before It Becomes Prison
                                                      Problem (Continued)
                                Continued from Page 1                        nia. Yet, according to a 2006 U.S. Jus-
                                tion. This program just received a fed-      tice Dept. study, 24% of local jail in-
     “Of the European           eral grant for implementation. It ap-        mates reported symptoms of a psychotic
 psychologists, university      pears to be the only type of program in      disorder.
professors and students, and
                                the United States where separate courts
                                are working together on these issues.          Why this discrepancy? Certainly,
   some law enforcement                                                      there are many reasons. However,
                                  Of the European psychologists, uni-        Judge Eisenstein believes one reason
   attendees many were          versity professors and students, and         may be access to health care. European
 curious as to why so many      some law enforcement attendees many          countries have universal health-care
mentally ill people were in     were curious as to why so many men-          plans; perhaps because of this access
                                tally ill people were in the U.S. criminal   to treatment and medication, fewer peo-
  the U.S. criminal justice     justice system. It appears that a much       ple have mental health issues that dete-
          system.”              higher percentage of people incarcerated     riorate to a level where the police and
                                in the United States suffer from serious     courts have to become involved.
                                mental illness than in most European           The Europeans may be attacking this
                                countries. For example, during one           issue on the front end, thus resulting in
                                seminar it was stated that fewer than 5%     fewer people with mental illness wind-
                                of people arrested for crimes in The         ing up in jails.
                                Netherlands suffered from schizophre-        (From The Tennessean, July 18, 2008 )

                                                        Patients Prefer Long-Acting Injections

                                  Recent studies have shown that people      center, where a nurse on staff gives it to
“With long-acting injections    taking antipsychotic medication would        them in the form of a shot. Or they can
                                choose long-acting injections as their       choose to receive the shot directly from
of the medication, instead of
                                first choice of treatment compared to        their doctor’s office. Resperidol is an
   daily oral forms, non-       daily tablets. With long-acting injec-       example of a medication that can be
  adherence rates can be        tions of the medication, instead of daily    received this way. The shot lasts two
         reduced..”             oral forms, non-adherence rates can be       weeks, and then the procedure must be
                                reduced.                                     repeated. Check with your doctor to
                                   Many patients, after picking up their     determine whether or not you can re-
                                injectable medication from the phar-         ceive your medication in this form in-
                                macy, go directly to their counseling        stead of daily pills!
                                            National Alliance on Mental Illness                       Page 4

                                           “In Our Own Voice” Training in October

                              Casper will be hosting another “In       a very new program to Wyoming (as
                              Our Own Voice” (IOOV) training           we got it up and running only a year
                              scheduled for October 17th, 18th, and    ago) it has been enormously success-
                              19th. We are very interested in train-   ful; with our presenters getting won-
                              ing presenters from some of the areas    derful feedback repeatedly. Working
 “’In Our Own Voice’ is       that do not have this very valuable      in pairs is a program requirement that
  designed to educate the     program in their communities.            offers a challenge to the rural areas of
public about mental illness                                            our state. Presently this program is
                              IOOV is designed to educate the pub-     active only in Casper and Cheyenne,
   and reduce stigma.”
                              lic about mental illness and reduce      however, we would very much like to
                              stigma associated with it. Presenta-     expand it to include all areas of the
                              tions feature persons living with men-   state.
                              tal illness sharing their stories and
                              demonstrating that recovery is not       If you are interested in being a pre-
                              only possible, but highly likely.        senter for this very worthwhile pro-
                                                                       gram, please call our office at 307-
                              Even though “In Our Own Voice” is        265-2573 or 1-888-882-4968.

                                   Help Pass Insurance Parity Legislation: Share Your Story!
                              As the NAMI Policy Staff has been        experienced:
                              reporting, we are now very close to
                              an agreement on mental illness insur-       Durational Treatment Limits –
                              ance parity legislation. Senators           Running against arbitrary nu-
                              Domenici and Kennedy and Repre-             merical limits on inpatient days
                              sentatives Kennedy and Ramstad              and outpatient visits in group
                              have been working with House and            health plans, and
“With this important debate
                              Senate bills. This will set the stage       Financial Limitations – Being
                              for a final debate in Congress on this      forced to endure higher cost
 looming, NAMI’s allies in
                              long overdue legislation to require         sharing or higher deductibles
 Congress are asking us to    group health plans to cover mental          that apply only to mental illness
come forward with personal    illness on the same terms and condi-        treatment (e.g., higher cost shar-
 stories of how insurance     tions as all other illnesses.               ing for a psychotropic medica-
discrimination has impacted                                               tion vs. other prescriptions, a
                              With this important debate looming,         separate higher deductible
 consumers and families.”
                              NAMI’s allies in Congress are ask-          only for mental health benefits)
                              ing us to come forward with personal
                              stories of how insurance discrimina-       Please e-mail these personal sto-
                              tion has impacted consumers and          ries to or fax
                              families. We are asking for your         them to 703-524-9094, attention
                              help to gather these personal stories    Laura Usher.
                              to help demonstrate how parity will
                              make a difference. Specifically,         (Source: Friday Facts from NAMI
                              NAMI is looking for instances of         National: July 25, 2008.)
                              consumers and families that have
                                              National Alliance on Mental Illness                          Page 5

                                    Anticipating Disaster, Failing Health Common Symptoms of
                                                          Anxiety Disorder
                                                       Mental Health Update, Rita Overfield
                                                         Cody Enterprise, May 28, 2008

                                  At one time or another we have all       the risk is highest between childhood
                                experienced anxiety. People worry          and middle age.
                                about a school test, medical proce-           GAD rarely occurs alone and most
                                dure or simple everyday task.              often accompanies other anxiety dis-
                                  But people with generalized anxiety      orders, depression or substance
                                disorder (GAD) go through the day          abuse.
                                with exaggerated worry and tension,           Scientists have discovered in the
                                even though there is little or nothing     brain that the amygdala and the hip-
                                that provokes it.                          pocampus play important roles in
                                  People anticipate disaster and are       anxiety disorders.
                                overly concerned about health issues,         The amygdala is an almond-shaped
                                money, family problems or difficul-        structure deep in the brain that is be-
                                ties at work.                              lieved to be a communication hub
                                  People with GAD can’t seem to get        between the parts of the brain that
                                rid of their concerns, even though         process incoming sensory signals and
 “People with Generalized       they usually realize that their anxiety    the parts that interpret the signals.
Anxiety Disorder can’t seem     is more intense than the situation war-       It can alert the brain that a threat is
to get rid of their concerns,   rants.                                     present and trigger a fear or anxious
                                  They can’t relax, startle easily and     response.
 even though they usually
                                have difficulty concentrating.                The emotional memories are stored
realize that their anxiety is
                                  Often they have trouble falling          in the central part of the amygdala
   more intense than the        asleep or staying asleep.                  and may play a role in distinct fears,
   situation warrants.”           Physical symptoms that often ac-         such as a fear of dogs, spiders and
                                company anxiety include fatigue,           flying.
                                headaches, muscle tension and aches,          The hippocampus is the part of the
                                difficulty swallowing, trembling,          brain that encodes threatening events
                                twitching, sweating, nausea, dizzi-        into memories.
                                ness, having to frequently use the            Research will determine what role
                                restroom, feeling out of breath and        it plays in the flashbacks, deficits in
                                experiencing hot flashes.                  explicit memory and fragmented
                                  More than 19 million people age 18       memories of traumatic events.
                                to 54 have an anxiety disorder.               By learning more about how the
                                  Women are more likely than men to        brain creates fear and anxiety, scien-
                                have an anxiety disorder. Twice as         tists will be able to devise better
                                many women as men suffer from              treatments for anxiety disorders.
                                panic disorder, post-traumatic stress         Currently anxiety disorders are
                                disorder, agoraphobia—an intense           commonly treated with medications
                                fear and avoidance of any place or         and cognitive-behavioral therapy.
                                situation where escape might be diffi-
                                cult or help is unavailable—and gen-        (Overfield is president of National
                                eralized anxiety.                          Alliance on Mental Illness of Park
                                  GAD comes on gradually, although         County.)
                                                 National Alliance on Mental Illness

                                                            NAMI WYOMING
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