Nov 1, 2011 by

*I’m sorry, y’all, I couldn’t resist. You’ll see why.

Watch on Youtube

Watch on Youtube

Cecile Tebo came to speak at Rising Tide 4 a few years back. She is an engaging person who is dedicated to easing the pains of the mentally ill in this area, and that was evident during her time on the dais that day talking about mental health and about the dire health care situation the city is in.  She was smack in the middle of what was going on, and I’m certain it was one wild ride, but an inspiring one.

Thing is, what she and the Crisis Unit have been doing has been little more than a Band-Aid on a gangrenous wound that is mental health care in these parts, something that was seriously damaged during the events of 8/29/2005 and has been eviscerated even more by Jindal’s closing of the New Orleans Adolescent Hospital and then of the hospital in Mandeville that was supposed to be taking NOAH patients, leaving the Orleans Parish Prison as the only true place for any “treatment” of the mentally ill in the area (gee, could that be why Sheriff Gusman wants all those beds?). Asking a few very dedicated volunteers to do the work of trained professionals and staff in suitable facilities is asking too much of anyone. Something was going to give eventually, and recent city budget woes in concert with changes to the Crisis Unit under a Serpas-led NOPD finally did it.

I don’t blame Tebo for leaving.

What I do blame is an unwillingness for the lege in Baton Rouge to give us the resources to deal with this terrible state of affairs. Since there has been a whole lot of occupation going around, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone decided to round up a large number of the untreated and have ’em camp out in front of the Red Stick state house just to get people to acknowledge one simple fact:

When it comes to the treatment of mental illness, kneeling to pray it away in others is ultimately a cold, empty, and selfish gesture.

That’s where we’re headed in Louisiana. Thanks a bundle, Governor.


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