Where Are You Taking Me?

by Maya Borja McCroskey

When first trying to find my husbands route to freedom, the National Psychological Association told me that 80% of the United States prison population was mentally ill and that they were very sorry there was nothing they could do to help us. Now maybe it’s just me, but if 80% of the people in these places suffer from mental illness, should they even be called prisons anymore? Now perhaps if a psychiatry appointment from wait to finish lasted longer than five minuets, or people didn’t end up going weeks without their medication until someone called up to advocate for them; we could call these places treatment facilities, hospitals, or maybe even entertain the idea of a correctional center. But until then we may as well just be calling them, holding camps for the mentally ill, or oh what were those places called again, oh yes, Asylums.

I myself have been arrested twice now despite the medical alert bracelet I was wearing or my pleas to be taken to a hospital, to see my Doctor or just simply for help. I am very lucky, not only do I still have family that want to help me, but they are slightly well to do on top of it. So, both times I was able to get very good Attorneys. Though I have been lucky enough to have my charges either stetted or Nolle prosequi, others are not.

Often times my husband, will call me, before from Jail now from Prison, letting me know how long he has been without his medicine and could I please call the Psychiatrist or head Nurse as the case may see fit. Now my job has expanded a little. He has made friends with someone who has paranoid schizophrenia and turrets syndrome among other things, who at times ends up without his medicine. And now I call up as a concerned family member for him as well. As soon as I call they get their medicine at least by the next day. Why does it take someone calling from the outside to get these PATIENTS their medicine. And what happens to all of the people without someone to call for them?

It starts at home with there being a lack in funding for our mental health and social services workers. People like my husband and I fall through the cracks. If someone had looked a little closer at his home life maybe it wouldn’t be him that is in prison right now. Maybe he could have been on these medicines that are helping him now, a long time ago. Meanwhile I am out here on the street and I still am very ill, just fighting every day to take care of my family. But If I get frustrated and yell in public I will go to jail.