One of their ongoing stories is a series of stories by Meg Kissinger regarding the mental health system in Milwaukee. I don't know of anyone at all who is saying the current system is satisfactory and that changes aren't needed. But what shape that change should be in is a whole other discussion.
In a story that appeared today, Kissinger followed up with a young man that she had written about before. In her previous story, she wrote about how difficult it was for her mother to find treatment for her son and the long series of failed placement in community settings, going as far as California in her efforts.
In the current story, she writes about how he is in his own apartment, unsupervised and barely supported. She complains in her story that Milwaukee County has invested their money into needed inpatient services instead of community services. (This, by the way, is a faulty line of reasoning, since it's been proven that much more money is needed in both types of services. It's not an either/or need.)
But what made me do a spit take was this (emphasis mine):
Rob sent an email a few weeks ago asking if the newspaper could run a follow-up story on him. He said he'd like to connect with old friends, go back to college, get a job.The man is schizoaffective and presumably on some strong psychotropic medications. I can't imagine any way that having a beer or any other alcoholic drink would be a good thing for him or his treatment. Most psychotropic medications warn people not to drink while on the medicine because of the problems that can occur.
He asked to go to lunch at Finn McGuire's, a pub on S. 108th St. in Hales Corners.
It's the kind of place a guy would come with his friends after a summer softball game or to watch the Badgers on TV.
Rob sat at the table, bobbing his head, waiting for his beer and the basket of french fries he'd ordered, even though his stomach had been bothering him all morning.
It was too cold to go outside to smoke, but he was too antsy to sit and make small talk.
His lip started to quiver. His eyes darted back and forth.
Granted, the young man has the right to ignore medical advice and drink if he wants to, but then don't blame the system for the choices he has made.
It should also be pointed out that this is what does happen when people with mental health concerns are put into the community without proper supports, which is exactly what Chris Abele, the ALEC-controlled state legislature and the corporate media is advocating for.