Wednesday, 3 September 2008

The oxymoron of 'Care in the Community'

Poor, poor Benjamin Frankum who was allowed out while under 'section' to, guess what? Care in the community! You may argue that we should not feel pity for Benji Frankum, because he then went on to kill a perfectly innocent father of three, Daniel Quelch. Mr. Quelch was definitely in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

It's heartbreaking that yet again, after who know's how many instances, that someone who suffers from chronic mental illness - let's call it schizophrenia - even paranoid schizophrenia - is not being taken care of in the least managable way. The very fact that he had been sectioned because it had occurred to the mental health authorities that he was a danger to himself, and as a consequence other people, then why on earth was he released out?

Presumably, as was the case with Zach, Benji Frankum was visited by a 'crisis team' or a 'social worker' while he was living in his 'supported accommodation' and presumably, as was also the case with Zach, they offered him his medication. Did they not force him to take it? Or did they stand next to him, offering him sweet nothings, while maintaining that they had no authoritity to force him to take the meds?

Is there no one in this country who is going to take responsibility for the unbelievably shoddy treatment that our mentally ill suffer from? How many more innocent people will die until there is accountability by the mental health bodies? The people who die are innocent, but, invariably, those who commit the crimes are innocent too, if they are suffering from a chronic mental illness. And when these so-called 'Mental Health Authorities' fail in their duties, as they increasingly do, who indeed should bear the guilt for the consequential fall-out?

It's about time that the blame is apportioned to where it emanates and this is with our 'caring' services. Maybe when professionals are made to take responsibility of their risible 'care in the community' and heads roll, then possibly less innocent lives will be lost.

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