Knightdale, NC (PRWEB) October 21, 2010
The National Alliance on Mental Illness – Wake County with a diverse network of concerned community partners is holding a rally to protest the closing of Dorothea Dix Hospital in Raleigh, NC. Dorothea Dix Hospital was built in the mid 1800s. It survived two World Wars, and the Great Depression, yet NC Governor Perdue was quoted by the AP as saying, "I don't believe that given the current fiscal environment, NC can afford to keep Dix Open." People with psychiatric illnesses havie to wait in NC Emergency Departments an average of 2.6 days prior to admission to a state hospital. People with severe mental illnesses have an 8 to 1 chance of being incarcerated in a state prison rather than receiving residential care in a state hospital, NAMI Wake believes the NC Legislature and Governor Perdue should consider adjusting fiscal priorities.
NAMI Wake and a diverse network of community partners are holding a "Rally to Save Dorothea Dix Hospital." The location is Children's Park at the corner of S. Wilmington and Lane Sts. in Raleigh, NC. The event will be held on Thursday, October 28 and will begin at 4:30pm and will end with a march past the Governor's mansion.
The primary reasons for protesting the closure of Dorothea Dix Hospital are that people with serious psychiatric illnesses are not receiving the care they need:
Prisons and Jails – NC’s New Mental Hospitals
•A recently completed report by NAMI Wake (Akland 2010) shows NC state psychiatric hospital resident beds have gone from 1,904 in 2001 to 770 in 2009--a reduction of 60%.
•The total number of patients admitted declined from 17,000 in 2001 to 7,500 in 2009. (NCDHHS)
•The number of seriously mentally ill prison inmates is projected at 6,183 in 2009 (David Edwards, NC DOC, 2007)
•In a 2010 study, E. Fuller Torrey with the Treatment Advocacy Center reports a NC population in 2005 of 8,617 severely mentally ill inmates in prisons and jails with odds of a mentally ill person being incarcerated rather than in a psychiatric hospital 3.5 to 1.
•A recently completed report by NAMI Wake (Akland 2010) reported that in NC a psychiatric patient has 8 to 1 odds of being in a residential psychiatric bed than in a state prison.
•According to J. Fellner as reported in the Harvard Civil Rights Review, "placing the mentally ill in a brutal environment that they are not equipped to navigate without the aid of robust mental health services promotes neither rehabilitation nor prison security. It smacks more of cruelty than of justice."
Emergency Rooms – Where Psychotic People Wait and Wait and Wait…
•During the first 6 months of 2010, 3,000 people were wait-listed for a state hospital bed. They waited, on average, 2.6 days. Two hundred and twelve waited 7 days or longer. (Ann & Gerry Akland, NAMI Wake County, 2010)
The Streets – Where over 1,000 untreated mentally ill people live
•Volunteers counted 1364 homeless mentally ill adults, diagnosable by a professional in the 2010 point in time survey. (NC Coalition to End Homelessness) These are people that could be found and those that were easily classified as mentally ill. Many more are out there suffering under bridges and in the woods.
Ann & Gerry Akland, NAMI Wake County. (2010, August). State Psychiatric Hospital Admission Delays. Retrieved October 10, 2010, from NAMI Wake Publications: http://www.nami-wake.org/files/NAMI_Wake_State_Psych_Hospital_Delays_Report.pdf
David Edwards, NC DOC. (2007, August). Statistics Memo - Mental Health Diagnoses in the Prison Population. Retrieved October 10, 2010, from http://randp.doc.state.nc.us/pubdocs/0007052.PDF
Fellner, J. (2006). Mental Illness and Prison Rules. Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review [Vol. 41], pp. 392-412.
NC Coalition to End Homelessness. (n.d.). Point In Time Count Data. Retrieved October 10, 2010, from http://www.ncceh.org/attachments/contentmanagers/825/PIT_State_2010-FINAL.pdf
NCDHHS. (n.d.). NC Psychiatric Hospital, Annual Statistical Report, Fiscal Year 2009. Retrieved October 10, 2010, from http://www.ncdhhs.gov/mhddsas/statspublications/reports/psyhosp09rpt.pdf
Treatment Advocacy Center, E. Fuller Torrey, et al. (2010, May). More Mentally Ill Persons Are in Jails and Prisons Than Hospitals: A Survey of the States . Retrieved October 10, 2010, from http://www.sheriffs.org/userfiles/file/FinalJailsvHospitalsStudy.pdf