Having taught college students for more than four decades, it has been pure joy to see how the new wave of medical treatments for mood disorders, schizophrenia, and other lesser disabilities has made normal life possible for increasing numbers of my students who have gained access to them.

When I first started teaching in the 1960’s, all too many students whose psychological disabilities emerged under the pressures of college, found themselves ignored, under treated, shunted aside, imprisoned for minor crimes, dispirited and isolated from the rest of the world.  Over the years I remained in touch with several and followed their up and downs — mainly the latter — as they would get back in contact again — usually amidst some emergency in their lives.

The good news now is that solid medical care — chemical and advisory — can make the difference between brilliantly effective lives and despair — often death by suicide.  The great American tragedy these days is that so few have such resources available to them.  Medical insurance programs that fully fund such conditions as diabetes, pull every trick in the book to avoid monies for far less expensive treatments for psychological disorders.  The poor do not ordinarily have even such minimal resources available to them and self-medication with alcohol and/or prohibited drugs leaves hundreds of thousands of these people stranded for decades of their lives in our over-filled prison system, thanks to our draconian drug laws.

Other countries do better by their own.  Americans should be ashamed of the treatment of good people who through no fault of their own are cut off from the resources that we now know could rescue their lives.  The following NY Times article strikes me as amateurish, if well intentioned, as one who has explored this topic over the years through our various joint philosophy/psychiatry explorations.  I strongly recommend to readers Andrew Solomon’s Noonday Demon:

http://www.noondaydemon.com/biography.html

As one who has suffered himself over the years from debilitating depression, Andrew is also pioneering efforts to bring into existence a national network of treatment centers that will be able to treat any and all who similarly suffer from psychological disorders — roughly 20% of Americans at one point or another in their lives.

………………………..

TROUBLED CHILDREN
Off to College on Their Own, Shadowed by Mental Illness
By LYNETTE CLEMETSON
For young people diagnosed with serious mental disorders,
the transition from high school to college can be
particularly fraught.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/08/health/08Kids.html?th&emc=th

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent  718-951-5324 (voice mail only) [blind copies]
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/EndingPoverty
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/StudentConcerns
http://BlogByEdKent.blogspot.com/
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