Addressing Violence With Social Programs

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Mygaffer:

90sgamer:

Mygaffer:

You may not care about the well being of individuals but I do. If someone you know or you yourself are affected by mental health that attitude may change. But neither of can know that today.

In any case I do not want to live in a society where I walk by homeless and mentally ill people every day, it brings me down. I live and work in a nice area, Contra Costa county but right by where I work there are several homeless people, several of them mentally ill. It brings down my standard of living seeing that human suffering every day.

Due to my experience with mental health I know that a lot of smart, driven and talented people can be brought low by mental health issues. Many of those people could directly contribute to society with proper treatment. Look at Howard Hughes, a driven man who accomplished a lot that ended up peeing in jars locked in a hotel room. Bottom line I put a lot of weight behind this statement, "A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members."

EDIT: In any case it does not matter at this point, the mandate is health care for everyone, the only thing left to see is the extent to which mental health services will be made accessible.

Thank you for the reply. It would seem that your position is based on an emotional response to the visual presence of homeless and mentally ill (how do homeless fit into this topic? They seem unrelated). You touch on a more practical concern regarding lost productivity as well. I must disagree with the emotional component and the claim of lost productivity.

Emotions have no place in legislation, especially legislation as broad an expensive as a national mental health care plan. Emotional responses are meant to guide your immediate survival, but are not a sound basis for long term planning.

Lost productivity is regarded as a slippery argument to make because it applies to so many things. Abortion: you can't abort fetuses because you might be killing off what could be a contributing adult. Death Penalty: many criminals are highly intelligent. We should focus on rehabilitation, pardons, then allow them to be contributing members of society. Immigration: We should let whoever comes into the country be a citizen, find work and pay taxes. Who knows how many immigrants will be intelligent and productive? Public education: Every citizen should receive free or subsidized higher education. Many people who are too poor to afford enrolling in a university have a very high potential. Welfare: People could be contributing adults if we just eased the burden of their existence to such a degree that instead of working two jobs they can work just one, while going to school part time. We'll pay for school too, as noted above. Health Insurance: So many people die a year or are unable to be productive because of illness. Of those that die, some were or could have been productive. Therefore, we should foot the bill for all or most medical expenses.

Obviously we have to draw the line at where "lost potential" is no longer a valid reason to do things, otherwise you'll be footing the bill for every else's education, kids, healthcare, mental care, and supplemental income. I propose we never accept that argument. It's largely hypothetical, which makes a cost-benefit analysis (ratio of dollars spent to productivity gained from treated individuals) impossible.

In response to your edit: just because there is currently a law that mandates health care does not make subsequent discussion of the subject "not matter." Laws change frequently.

Laws don't change that frequently, not in this country. In any case I find your supposition that emotions have no place in lawmaking to be factually incorrect. Laws are just one way a society expresses its values. They are not made by balancing equations of cost and monetary benefit. A system of laws is enacted and enforced to enforce cultural values across a society.

One of those values is helping the sick. You seem to pretend to be an emotionless android, disregarding human suffering and "emotions meant for short term survival". Fortunately most American's do not take your same outlook on human suffering or the treatment of physical and emotional injury as a cost/benefit analysis.

Luckily in the democratic republic I live in I have many ways to try and effect our system of laws. Through polling, demonstrating, letters to elected officials, grassroots and non-profit organizations, voting, and of course through spending my money on issues and campaigns.

You may not care about seeing homeless people on the street everyday, I do. So I support policy that looks to reduce the occurrence of homelessness. The two primary conditions linked to homelessness are addiction and mental illness, although technically addiction falls under the latter category. I want to make clear that I am not just concerned about mental health issues among the homeless, I focused on that since you asked for some benefits that would arise from greater access to mental health care. Reducing instances of homelessness is one of those benefits. Homeless people are also part of our society, so your claim that my example is just an emotional response completely ignores the very real benefit to those members of society who are currently suffering from untreated mental illness. I assume you don't even consider them as part of your equation on societal benefits.

I really don't know why you would argue against increased access to mental health services though. Are you a Scientologist who thinks the whole field is quackery? Do you not think people with mental health issues deserve to have access to care? Just how big would the cost be of making more services available?

To me you sound a lot like a Tea Party member, quick to make the other guy justify his position while not offering any justification of your own position. You tell me why mentally ill people in this country should not have access to mental health services. The US already has one of the lowest tax burdens of any developed nation. So is it really a cost issue or something else?

Thank you, again, for your reply. I do not subscribe to any political party, but I voted Libertarian in the last election, so you may consider my values similar to libertarians, unless otherwise specified or corrected.

I understand that you feel emotions are a relevant concern when forming laws governing social policy. You have not provided any cause for me to agree with you, so we must agree to disagree. I will do nothing further to persuade you, but I will reply to your message in whole because you took the time to type it.

Fortunately, you are wrong in your assertion that I am an emotionless android, and I regret that I've given you cause to believe that. To clarify my position regarding human suffering: individuals are responsible to help themselves. The government is responsible to protect our basic rights. When deciding what social policies to uphold, I believe the government should only concern itself with the greater good, i.e. citizens under its care should have a very reasonable chance to stay alive and not be obstructed from achieving success. As such, there will be some people that are either unlucky or not well equipped to either stay alive or achieve success. As long such people are very small in number then the government is doing it's job well, as it can be accepted as fact that not everyone can live full lives and not everyone can achieve success however they define it (within reason). The group of people you are describing--the mentally ill and the homeless--are very small in number. In other words: the money we would spend to institute national mental health care would be quite large, and the number of people who need it desperately is quite small. Only 0.002% of the US population was homeless (sheltered and unsheltered) in 2009 according to Wikipedia(population of homeless)and USNews.com(total US pop). I can't find good numbers for the population of mentally ill. What I have found is not helpful as there is no suitable distinction between people who have a "serious mental illness" and people who have a mental illness so serious that they cannot function within society without treatment. For example, bi-polar is considered a "serious" mental illness and I've known enough bi-polar people (dated two) to know that some people with that "serious" disorder can function in society without treatment. They will not be comfortable, but I do not think the government is compelled to make all citizens comfortable. On the other hand I believe Schizophrenia is a "serious mental illness" that really is serious, but it's in the same category as depression and bi-polar.

The homeless (0.002% of US population) are also not completely without help. Certain charities and religious organizations take up the cause of helping them. The government subsidizes those charities and religious organizations by making their earnings tax exempt. Additionally, Federal and State governments already have their own departments in place to help people obtain basic sustenance, shelter, and even assistance finding jobs. I think we are already doing enough, if not too much, to provide basic human services.

You assert that "The two primary conditions linked to homelessness are addiction and mental illness." Would you cite your source? The information I have seen says that poverty and unemployment are the two largest causes of homelessness. I have not looked into it too much and I am certainly not prepared to refute your claim, and I have no intention of doing so with subsequent posts, but a source or two would be very helpful for me.

To answer your questions, in the order asked: 1. I am not a Scientologist. 2. I do not think people deserve access to mental health services. I am construing your use of "deserve" free from it's moral frame work as it would be impossible to tell you if people I do not know deserve anything. Instead, I am switching "Deserve" with "Entitled," as I believe that was your intention. I currently believe that people are not entitled to health or mental services other than those necessary to preserve life when death is imminent. 3. I am not qualified to assess the total cost of providing mental services to the US population. I do know that the US population was about 305,000,000 in 2009 and that providing mental services is very expensive. I know it's very expensive because I am a recipient of mental services myself. I can't even afford to purchase those services for myself, let alone anyone else. The only reason I receive them is because my costs are subsidized in part by my insurance. The reason I have insurance is because I am employed and I pay for it; however I was not always been employed and I have not always held insurance. When I was not employed and not purchasing insurance I received no health or mental care. So to answer your question as best as I can: it would cost a whole hell of a lot to provide mental health services to the entire US population. 4. It is really a cost issue. I see no reason why you or anyone else would want to make the US more like any other developed nation.

90sgamer:
snip - these quotes will start taking up whole pages in and of themselves

I think you believe I am advocating for free mental health care for all. I am not. I think for those small number of people, as you yourself have admitted those who are too sick to care for themselves are very small in number, should be given subsidized access to mental health services. The rest of us will pay for it, whether nationalized or not. The assumption seems to be that "the government" is going to be paying for these services when that is just a matter of perception. The government taxes citizens and businesses, those are the two largest sources of income for the government, well that and deficit spending, which I do not believe is sustainable. So do not assume you understand my point of view at all based on one statement that everyone should have access to mental health services. The fact that I could only get in to be seen once every three weeks with very good insurance shows that across all strata of society access to these services is too limited. Luckily I only sought talk therapy for some family issues and moderate depression.

I have some fairly libertarian views and would like the government to stay out of my personal life, insofar as I do not impose on others (i.e. theft, assualt, etc.). That being said I realize that it just makes sense for the government to manage some things, such as interstate commerce, police and fire, local utilities, and the like. If we had stronger anti-trust laws in this country that were not circumvented and ignored all the time, just look at the number of anti-trust suits since Reagan for confirmation, then I would trust the free market to take care of a lot more things. But the free market is prone to monopolies, anti-consumer behavior, and price fixing.

One of the things that really turns me off from hard core libertarianism is the kind of stuff epitomized by Ron Paul's answer to a question during one of the Republican primary debates. He was asked during the CNN hosted debate if an uninsured working man got into an accident, should he be treated. Ron Paul's response was this, "What he should do is whatever he wants to do and assume responsibility for himself," Paul responded, adding, "That's what freedom is all about, taking your own risk. This whole idea that you have to compare and take care of everybody..."

Ron Paul hemmed and hawed during the answer but he basically said let the guy die. Wolf Blitzer made it easier by using the language "chooses", implying that someone would choose not to have health care (yes, some younger and healthier people do choose to forgo health care but most uninsured do so because they can not afford it, not because they don't want it). What really sickened me were the Tea Party guys in the audience who cheered and were baying like hounds for the blood of this hypothetical person. They were cheering at the idea of letting someone die when treatment was available. That is anathema to my value system and I find it abhorrent.

All of these discussions we are having as a nation are to determine which services will be available to whom and who will pay for them. I hope you are working hard to represent your position because I am doing so in the representation of mine.

EDIT: I do appreciate you staying civil in this long winded exchange that probably only we two are reading. By this point most conversations on a forum have devolved into "you are Hitler and should be shot".

90sgamer:
You assert that "The two primary conditions linked to homelessness are addiction and mental illness." Would you cite your source? The information I have seen says that poverty and unemployment are the two largest causes of homelessness. I have not looked into it too much and I am certainly not prepared to refute your claim, and I have no intention of doing so with subsequent posts, but a source or two would be very helpful for me.

"Primary" might be the point of confusion. Sure people who are homeless are probably poor, and probably unemployed. If you're unemployed chances are you're ether very poor or very rich. However, when you look at the points in time where we have had major job surplus, needing to employee more people then there are (late 90's), there are still homeless, and unemployed. For many it's not that they don't have a job. It's that they can't hold down a job for very long. That is where Addiction and Mental Illness comes into play.

Try this from National Homeless.org who advocate for treating addiction as a mental illness in the homeless population rather than just sluffing them off as addicts.

nationalhomeless.org:
A common stereotype of the homeless population is that they are all alcoholics or drug abusers. The truth is that a high percentage of homeless people do struggle with substance abuse, but addictions should be viewed as illnesses and require a great deal of treatment, counseling, and support to overcome. Substance abuse is both a cause and a result of homelessness, often arising after people lose their housing.

Try this from National Alliance on Mental Health who address homeless veterans in the Veteran Resources Center.

NAMI.org:
the vast majority are single, most come from poor, disadvantaged communities, 45 percent live with a mental illness and half have substance abuse problems

Ah, therapies...
Do they ever work?
I once got into an argument with my psychology lector about "curing" depression
While in some extremely rare cases it is brain chemistry that makes state of non-depression impossible, in majority of times it is life itself that causes suicidal depression.
So there are only 3 things that can be done to prevent suicide.
1.Changing whatever causes you to hate your life
2.Changing perception on that thing
3.Drugging yourself into vegetative state (yes, yes, overexaggeration, I know)
Best solution would be nr.1, but it isn't always possible (sometimes it's not going to happen, sometimes it is totally impossible)
Solution nr.3 is worst case scenario, that should be avoided at all cost (I personally would prefer death over personality altering drugs)
I can see how therapy could lead to outcome nr.2, but to really achieve this specialist must know patient better than patient knows himself, and he should deeply care for this patient. So it seems unlikely that it would be even remotely possible.

blackrave:
Ah, therapies...
Do they ever work?

I don't think the article is advocating Therapy any more than it is already used. If anything it's advocating Reinstitutionalizing which isn't even considered in your 3 options. It's not for your standard "I'm depressed and suicidal" types. It's for these people who are schizophrenic or worse. If you're deranged to the point where you want to kill people and you're just mumbling about it we probably shouldn't let you out and about. It's admitting that therapy won't work long term in some cases. If you're that bad chances are you're not capable of taking care of it yourself ether, or afford to institutionalize yourself. The deinstitutionalizing that we've done for the last 50 years has just left these people roam free untreated till they kill someone.

90sgamer:

Thank you for the reply. It would seem that your position is based on an emotional response to the visual presence of homeless and mentally ill (how do homeless fit into this topic? They seem unrelated). You touch on a more practical concern regarding lost productivity as well. I must disagree with the emotional component and the claim of lost productivity.

Emotions have no place in legislation, especially legislation as broad an expensive as a national mental health care plan. Emotional responses are meant to guide your immediate survival, but are not a sound basis for long term planning.

Lost productivity is regarded as a slippery argument to make because it applies to so many things. Abortion: you can't abort fetuses because you might be killing off what could be a contributing adult. Death Penalty: many criminals are highly intelligent. We should focus on rehabilitation, pardons, then allow them to be contributing members of society. Immigration: We should let whoever comes into the country be a citizen, find work and pay taxes. Who knows how many immigrants will be intelligent and productive? Public education: Every citizen should receive free or subsidized higher education. Many people who are too poor to afford enrolling in a university have a very high potential. Welfare: People could be contributing adults if we just eased the burden of their existence to such a degree that instead of working two jobs they can work just one, while going to school part time. We'll pay for school too, as noted above. Health Insurance: So many people die a year or are unable to be productive because of illness. Of those that die, some were or could have been productive. Therefore, we should foot the bill for all or most medical expenses.

Obviously we have to draw the line at where "lost potential" is no longer a valid reason to do things, otherwise you'll be footing the bill for every else's education, kids, healthcare, mental care, and supplemental income. I propose we never accept that argument. It's largely hypothetical, which makes a cost-benefit analysis (ratio of dollars spent to productivity gained from treated individuals) impossible.

In response to your edit: just because there is currently a law that mandates health care does not make subsequent discussion of the subject "not matter." Laws change frequently.

I realy should point out that the conclusion drawn here is plain wrong. Everything you mention in that 3rd paragraph exists, its called a welfare state. Turns out that 'footing the bill' for base requirements to live and develop pays off, suprise suprise.

I live in the Netherlands, here if I lose an arm, go crazy, lose my job, or become unable to pay for my food and house, I can get help instead of ending up dead or homeless. That stuff is normal around here, we are willing to pay taxes for that safety. America is a 3rd world country by comparison.

Your later post reveals you are a libertarion. I do not understand you people. You are obsessed with producing wealth, regardless of where that wealth goes. What is your 'benefit to society', if its not for people to live good lives? So your tiny minority of rich people can get even richer? So your military can get even bigger? So you can buy that nice boat you want, to go with the other 12 boats?

Study the world around you, free market is not a magic force of god that automaticaly regulates everything. Beyond a certain point, one which the US is way past, increase in market freedom only serves to make rich people even richer. Its is unfettered, undefendable greed.

blackrave:
Ah, therapies...
Do they ever work?
I once got into an argument with my psychology lector about "curing" depression
While in some extremely rare cases it is brain chemistry that makes state of non-depression impossible, in majority of times it is life itself that causes suicidal depression.
So there are only 3 things that can be done to prevent suicide.
1.Changing whatever causes you to hate your life
2.Changing perception on that thing
3.Drugging yourself into vegetative state (yes, yes, overexaggeration, I know)
Best solution would be nr.1, but it isn't always possible (sometimes it's not going to happen, sometimes it is totally impossible)
Solution nr.3 is worst case scenario, that should be avoided at all cost (I personally would prefer death over personality altering drugs)
I can see how therapy could lead to outcome nr.2, but to really achieve this specialist must know patient better than patient knows himself, and he should deeply care for this patient. So it seems unlikely that it would be even remotely possible.

Im not sure if you have ever been depressed, or had anyone close to you be so, but depression is a sickness. It makes it impossible for someone to be optimistic about anything, whist bloating anything negative way out of proportion. This kind of state will in allmost any case make it impossible to get to your point 1, which is indeed the only viable long term solution. Thats what the medication and therapy is for, to keep the symptones at bay so the cause can be cured.

blackrave:
Ah, therapies...
Do they ever work?

That depends on your criteria for 'working'.

If by 'working' people mean 'magically fixing people so that all their mental health issues are gone', then no.

If, on the other hand, people mean 'enabling people to become more functional and improve their quality of life', the I'm going to go with 'fuck yes'.

Groenteman:

90sgamer:

Thank you for the reply. It would seem that your position is based on an emotional response to the visual presence of homeless and mentally ill (how do homeless fit into this topic? They seem unrelated). You touch on a more practical concern regarding lost productivity as well. I must disagree with the emotional component and the claim of lost productivity.

Emotions have no place in legislation, especially legislation as broad an expensive as a national mental health care plan. Emotional responses are meant to guide your immediate survival, but are not a sound basis for long term planning.

Lost productivity is regarded as a slippery argument to make because it applies to so many things. Abortion: you can't abort fetuses because you might be killing off what could be a contributing adult. Death Penalty: many criminals are highly intelligent. We should focus on rehabilitation, pardons, then allow them to be contributing members of society. Immigration: We should let whoever comes into the country be a citizen, find work and pay taxes. Who knows how many immigrants will be intelligent and productive? Public education: Every citizen should receive free or subsidized higher education. Many people who are too poor to afford enrolling in a university have a very high potential. Welfare: People could be contributing adults if we just eased the burden of their existence to such a degree that instead of working two jobs they can work just one, while going to school part time. We'll pay for school too, as noted above. Health Insurance: So many people die a year or are unable to be productive because of illness. Of those that die, some were or could have been productive. Therefore, we should foot the bill for all or most medical expenses.

Obviously we have to draw the line at where "lost potential" is no longer a valid reason to do things, otherwise you'll be footing the bill for every else's education, kids, healthcare, mental care, and supplemental income. I propose we never accept that argument. It's largely hypothetical, which makes a cost-benefit analysis (ratio of dollars spent to productivity gained from treated individuals) impossible.

In response to your edit: just because there is currently a law that mandates health care does not make subsequent discussion of the subject "not matter." Laws change frequently.

I realy should point out that the conclusion drawn here is plain wrong. Everything you mention in that 3rd paragraph exists, its called a welfare state. Turns out that 'footing the bill' for base requirements to live and develop pays off, suprise suprise.

I live in the Netherlands, here if I lose an arm, go crazy, lose my job, or become unable to pay for my food and house, I can get help instead of ending up dead or homeless. That stuff is normal around here, we are willing to pay taxes for that safety. America is a 3rd world country by comparison.

Your later post reveals you are a libertarion. I do not understand you people. You are obsessed with producing wealth, regardless of where that wealth goes. What is your 'benefit to society', if its not for people to live good lives? So your tiny minority of rich people can get even richer? So your military can get even bigger? So you can buy that nice boat you want, to go with the other 12 boats?

Study the world around you, free market is not a magic force of god that automaticaly regulates everything. Beyond a certain point, one which the US is way past, increase in market freedom only serves to make rich people even richer. Its is unfettered, undefendable greed.

Speaking of incorrect conclusions, how and why did a conversation about public benefits turn into a conversation about capitalism? They are not mutually exclusive and neither the other party or myself ever mentioned capitalism. You sound like a person with a beef with capitalism and I have no desire to change you mind, namely because you don't live here and you don't vote.

Tell me, what is your gross earnings and what percentage of your income is taxed?

If you think a welfare state is one where abortions are illegal, immigrants can freely enter and receive all benefits citizens get, and where capital punishment is not used, then you need to look up the definition of welfare state. Also, those things are not "base requirements to live and develop", are they?

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