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Adult Mental Health in Texas - Helping a family member, or trying to...

A family member's perspective, this is what we are working with over here...


She screamed through the receiver before I uttered a word.





You have to stop, ok?


She repeated rapid fire, each one increasing with intensity.

Listen, you have to take a breath and listen to my words.

Clearly you are upset about something, and I believe you, I hear you.

I want to help you. You have to tell me what the deal is.


No, You, can’t yell at me. OK?

I will hang up. You can call back later when you are calmer, or you can take a moment and we can sort this out.

I paused, she was listening or catching her breath, either way, she wasn’t yelling at me at the moment.

If you want to communicate like adults, I need you to slow down.

Tell me the story, like you would tell someone that didn’t know what you were talking about. I can’t help if I don’t know what is going on. OK?


So, start from the very beginning. What happened or what are you worried is happening?

I have to go now; I need to get off the phone and get in my car.

Ok, so I’m off the hook for kidnapping a kid now? Where are you going, it’s almost dark. You can’t just go get in your car and drive in a random direction with no plan. Maybe that’s not what needs to happen right at this moment.


I’m not telling you what to do, go for it. Get in the car and drive wherever you want to go. Do whatever you wanted to do. You called me for help, remember?

It sounds like she is standing still and just huffing into the phone. I have no idea what she is really thinking and what that means she thinks she needs to do. It’s so hard to have compassion when this happens almost daily. It wrecks me that she is so upset, she wants to help others, even in this state of fear and worry. It would be very hard to have this be your reality and I try to remind myself that she doesn't get a break from it.

I think that’s as good as anywhere to start. If you have not had to deal with a mentally ill family member, you might think, just call adult protective services, they can help or maybe help find other resources. I thought so too, I thought there had to be people that knew more about what to do and how to handle these things. I would think that someone needed to have experience or be specifically trained for certain scenarios, there must be ways to address and navigate ALL of these things. I am here to tell you that there are none. There is no help and no resources, except for in very specific situations and there are very, very few of those. If that doesn't do it for you, you also have to thread the needle on when which things are happening and time your request for assistance to meet exactly in the middle of those that they do assist in.

There are, however, many numbers to call and organizations that will listen to your frustrations. They will pray for you and your family, and they are very sorry you are dealing with such a difficult situation. Interestingly enough, almost every person I spoke to, on all these calls over all these years, stated that they too had a family member or had lost someone due to mental illness. With defeated tones to their voices, they would elaborate that these experiences are what compelled them to get involved. Then they learned, like I did also, that there are more limitations than solutions due to current legislation. Collectively, and across the board, almost every person would tell me they wished there was something that they could do to make a difference.

Over the last several years I have contacted every possible resource, agency, organization, or group that was recommended or I could find. This includes anything related to mental health treatment or assistance in the State of Texas and nationwide. It does not surprise me at all that Texas lands in the very last position for access to services.

Link to 2022 and 2023 state ranking data #MentalHealthAmerica

In a twist of irony, just this week I received an email from the #TexasTribune, which brings forth the severe need to address the family advocacy system as a whole, with an emphasis on mentally ill foster children. Ironic because it was also the week that we passed anti-abortion laws. We rally everyone to step up to help all the innocent lives we fight to have born, but abandon them immediately. I forget sometimes, is it the American or Christian way, to shout do it this way because I said so, doesn't matter what rights I trample of yours, do as I say. But don't for get the next act of sneaking off quietly so hopefully nobody notices that we don't really care after all. I mean if we did, then we would also implement other things that actually would help people, because it would be the right thing to do.

I don’t see the difference in turning a blind eye to these children or to an adult that has been functional and needs help later in life. A person that has been a functioning member of society all of their lives, but due to unforeseen circumstances, now has childlike reasoning. The approach to both cases, seems to be the same and inevitably is dealt with by way of the judicial system. Let's not forget that even this process takes time and there are a whole lot of very bad things that can happen to anyone involved that, essentially are preventable and unnecessary.

This story highlights this happening with defenseless children, that have been placed into family protective services for one reason or another. There is no getting around the people that put the child in this situation are most definitely accountable for this outcome. Literally didn’t see it going south to throw a child with mental illness in jail with adult offenders. It infuriates me to think about it.

Article Link #TexasTribune

In consideration with these resources, bouncing around on various websites to find data that was pretty close to the above, and including my personal experiences over the last several years, I have come to the following conclusions. Essentially 1 in 5 adults or 1 in 4 juveniles, in Texas, is suffering from a mental illness or has reported symptoms that coincide with mental health, even if it were temporary. So, if you do not commit suicide as a juvenile, you can look forward to very little, I mean zero standards of care, if any assistance as an adult. The last several years of societal changes have taken a serious toll on everyone’s mental health, whether we admit it or not.

According to early data, (Which is different when compared to previous years as to the way the data was collected. In 2020 national surveillance tactics changed therefore it cannot be compared to previous years data.) that is not finalized at this point would be safe to say there has been a substantial increase in severity and frequency of mental health symptoms and diagnosis.

I printed off a handful of my photos to take to her. She was thrilled that I included her in something that I was interested in. I could tell that it mattered to give her something she could keep, something, tangible. This was her favorite out of all of them. She mentions it frequently and has urged me to share, and to share often, because "People need to see it and it could give someone hope. You are giving out hope and people forget."

From personal experience, I can safely say that suicide has increased, simply by the sheer number of friends I have lost since 2020. But statistically speaking there was an increase of approximately 37% which equates to an average of 130 suicides per day in the United States.

Hypothetically speaking and with projected societal concerns, it is safe to say that these numbers would only increase as services are decreased. I don’t know what the answer is, but I know there are better ways. Other countries address these issues in a variety of ways with positive, respectful results. I’d say something is better than what we are or are not doing now, but for the sake of my loved one, something also means better. I can't help but feel there is an overall decline in the value of each of us as humans. If that is the case, this means an even worse case scenario for those that are struggling to get by with setbacks from one or more mental health issues.

Either we care about people, all people, and we stop using whatever is fed to us on the daily as an excuse to not, or quit saying you care about people. Maybe create a little less racket and tone down your noise because some of us are trying to make things better, even if we aren't as loud. It matters, and if it hasn't mattered to you yet, it will. These demands and instances will get worse, and it will affect everyone in some way, or maybe it will be you in the end.

It changes the way you see care of another when it could be you.


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