Gus Deeds, 60 Minutes, and the Why of It All

Did you see Senator Creigh Deeds on 60 Minutes last night? If you didn’t, stop reading and watch it, below, before you read on.

Such a tragic story, and such a damning and pointed message at society: Gus was a great kid. He was a perfect son. It’s clear the system failed. It’s clear that it failed Gus. It killed Gus.

It fails so many of our children: lack of doctors, lack of beds, lack of treatment, lack of visibility, lack of compassion, lack of understanding – they are all killers.

Why, in Chicago, Illinois, does it take six to eight weeks to get a first appointment with a psychiatrist? Yes – that’s the average wait. That’s how long we had to wait to get an appointment with an adult psychiatrist when Tim transitioned from residential to home care.

Why, at the University of New Mexico hospital, are there, right now, children waiting days in the ER for a bed on the psychiatric ward? Yes – that is happening, today.

Why is the Federal Center for Medicare Services trying to restrict access to anti-psychotic medication for persons on Medicare Part D? Yes – it is under review, now. Write to your Senator to urge him or her to contact CMS.

Why is Congressman Tim Murphy’s Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act still sitting, waiting for a committee hearing? Yes – it is an important bill to help increase the number of beds available,  bring services to rural areas, and help clarify HIPAA law so that parents of children over age 18 can still be involved in our childrens’ care.

Why is the standard for discharge from a mental health hospital that the patient is no longer in  imminent danger, instead of stability? Yes – this is the national standard, and it usually leads to a person being discharged long before they are stable.

If you have another few minutes, watch the follow up piece 60 minutes did about the stigma of raising a  child with a mental illness. They laugh about casseroles. Because all that’s left is for us to laugh.

Related Posts

  • Anonymous January 27, 2014 at 8:27 pm

    Yes, Chrisa! I agree with all you have written here. I will fight until the day I die for proper mental health care, to make sure there are enough beds, to make sure everybody can get their meds……Our country seems like it doesn't want to help the issue of a broken mental health system. It seems like they are trying to ruin it instead.


  • Cayte February 3, 2014 at 11:56 pm

    Consider moving to Canada — my baby sister is alive in no small part to the amazing pediatric psych unit at Sick Kids. Both K and I inherited a mental illness severe enough to have warranted psychiatrists, meds and the odd in-patient stay in grade school. K was in-patient six or seven times (four-five weeks at a stretch) by the time she graduated high school, her docs made house calls when she was back home but too spooked to go to clinic. They were really, really great about admitting me for a week to re-balance my meds when I was an out-of-province sophomore in college.

    I was horrified to hear the PREVENTABLE tragedy of what happened to Gus Deeds. Inexcusable.