Friday, January 24, 2014

60 Minutes Will Focus on Father and Son Tragedy—For Lack of a Bed

By Bob Carolla, NAMI Director of Media Relations

CBS News’ 60 Minutes will air a story on Sunday, Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. EST/PST with an example of a tragic failure of the mental health care system for youth, involving a prominent politician and his son— a tragedy that could happen to anyone.

The segment is the first television interview with Virginia state senator and former gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds, whose 24-year-old son, Gus, died by suicide this past November after attacking his father.

Brioadcast Preview

CBS News has posted a video excerpt from the interview in advance on the 60 Minutes website.
“I really don't want Gus to be defined by his illness. I don't want Gus to be defined by what happened…Gus was a great kid. He was a perfect son. It's clear the system failed,” Deeds says in the interview

For Want of a Bed, a Son Was Lost

Gus, who lived with bipolar disorder, had been discharged from a hospital emergency room the day before the tragedy because no psychiatric beds were available in the local or nearby communities.

In the media firestorm that followed the tragedy, MSNBC.com noted that nationally “the number of psychiatric beds has been steadily declining as hospitals moved away from institutionalizing patients and budget cuts have taken hold. The number of hospital beds in freestanding psychiatric hospitals has dropped 13 percent between 2002 and 2011.”

According to the Washington Post, individuals with mental illness account for 7 to 10 percent of emergency room visits. They sometimes receive no treatment for days or even weeks “while social workers try to chase down open spots in psychiatric wards.”

Helping Families

Broadcasts like the one scheduled for Sunday, inevitably result in people asking where to get help themselves. NAMI offers the following fact sheet and programs for family education.

What Families Can Do
NAMI Family-to-Family
NAMI Basics
There also is the NAMI website and the NAMI HelpLine at 1 (800) 950-NAMI (6264).

2 comments:

Ali said...

I am on the side of where Gus was. I had a healthcare professional (EMT) tell me that they could've been on a more "serious" call instead of picking me up because I had thoughts of suicide and self-harm. Even asked me why I didn't just call a cab. Shortly before this I had overdosed on my medication and was admitted into the psych ward. I eventually found a resource that helped me. I don't know what possessed this individual to say to me but I have to say it almost made me want to kill someone. What if I had retaliated in such a way?? I just don't think about it anymore and I've moved on. I'm not cured, but I'm happy and managing my illness with all the love and support that is surrounding me. I'm thankful.

Anonymous said...

Ali you are awesome because it sounds like you did not allow that insensitive person to effect you and you did what you needed to do for youself. Keep your head up and your support and the people that really care about you is what matters most. I am the mother of a 19 yr. old daughter with Bipolar Disorder and people can be so insensitive toward what they don't understand but he was a medical/ healthcare professional that you would think take each individual case and adhere no matter what the situation.