Wednesday, November 04, 2015


Paul J. Carling wrote a book in 1995 published by The Guilford Press titled Return To Community: Building Support Systems for People with Psychiatric Disabilities.  You would think the system would have made great progress by now.  However, Disability Rights Florida made this statement when they sued the state of Florida on August 15, 2015 arguing it was violating federal law by unnecessarily prolonging the stays of hundreds of individuals with disabilities in its psychiatric treatment facilities.

“Many of these individuals are segregated in the state treatment facilities for no other reason than appropriate services do not exist for them in the community,” the complaint stated. “Defendants have failed to provide an adequate mental health treatment system that corresponds to the needs and abilities of Florida citizens with mental health diagnoses.

That does not sound like much has improved.

The Tanakh (Hebrew Bible or Old Testament to Christians) tells the story of the Garden of Eden which was God’s first home for His human creation, but no matter how grand He made it we did not think it was good enough.  Jerusalem was the center or main home of the Jewish people, but think of how many times it was conquered and lost to other nations.  Stephen King wrote in his last book Revival that home was where they did not want you to leave. Washington, D.C. is our national capital and our nation’s home so to speak, but if you live on the streets there as I have, you soon find out you are not welcome in our nation’s home.

You have heard said that home is where your heart is.  I say home is where your heart is held in the loving hands of a caring community.  This embrace of soul and self is not always found in one’s family or in the neighborhood church or in any traditional community.  

Home is where your soul and self are embraced, but not where your harmful actions are endorsed to the detriment of yourself or the community.  It is not a place to seek praise, but rather a place to seek peace for your inner self.  It may be hard to find, but it is worth seeking.

The question comes down to who will help me/us find home?  The mental health system is ill prepared to help us integrate back into the community.  I have been hospitalized many times in my life and not a single time did anyone in the system do anything to help me feel at home back in the community they sent me to.

Who will help me/we become rooted in a loving caring community?  Maybe nobody.

“To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul. It is one of the hardest to define. A human being has roots by virtue of his real, active and natural participation in the life of a community which preserves in living shape certain particular treasures of the past and certain particular expectations for the future.”
– Simone Weil, in her book The Need for Roots  

© Ed Cooper, November 4, 2015, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
   All rights reserved

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