Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 19 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

A disturbing story

The title of the article says it all, "To get mental health help for a child, desperate parents relinquish custody." It is a disturbing, horrific story of a family and their adopted son. Daniel went from a normal child to a boy who "began to show signs of serious mental illness that eventually manifested in violent outbursts and nearly a dozen psychiatric hospitalizations, starting at age 10." Despite private insurance and Medicaid coverage, it seems nobody was willing to pay for Daniel's recommended treatment--"institutional services that cost at least $100,000 a year."

Daniel's parents had no choice but to relinquish custody of their son in order for him to receive the care he needed. By giving up their custody rights, and turning Daniel back over to foster care, "the child welfare agency would be obligated to pay for the services." But it wasn't as simple as that, Daniel's parents had to go through hell first (my opinion).

According to the article after Daniel's 11th hospitalization in two years, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services stepped in. They gave Daniel's parents an ultimatum, "[They] basically said, 'If you bring him home, we're going to charge you with child endangerment for failure to protect your other kids, and if you leave him at the hospital, we'll charge you with neglect.' " What kind of choice is that?

This story is so disturbing. It graphically highlights how differently we treat those diagnosed with mental illness. Is there any chance a parent of a child with cancer, or diabetes, or muscular dystrophy would have to face the decision these parents had to face? I don't think so. This child was sick. Everybody knew he was sick. But treat him for his illness? Nope. Costs too much. Ridiculous.

Fortunately, this story had a happy ending. Daniel got treated, remained connected to his parents, and now leads a stable, productive life. I'm amazed it turned out that way, and I'd venture to guess this family's happy ending is not the norm. I urge you to read the full article. It's a multi-faceted issue. And I'd love to know what you think.

1 comment:

Paul said...

Illinois does seem to have more rules that most states, but sometimes I wonder if "obeying the rules" is just a way for some to hide from uncomfortable truths and situations. That way basic human compassion and the hard work that sometimes calls for can be avoided.