I couldn’t keep reading this. Clearly, you are a very compassionate person. That’s what makes it all the more sad that you were never trained in psychosocial rehabilitation. This is an entire field with a completely different treatment paradigm than traditional social services for people with serious mental illnesses. The field has also had trouble being funded as the primary orientation by the government.

One of the first principles of this field is to not talk about the people you are talking about in the way you are talking about them. It is extremely paternalistic, condescending, and infantilizing. The same person biting his neighbor and trying to get out of your car door could be treated properly with PSR methods, and do your job. Talking about them like they are crazed animals is not productive.

My parents are both seriously mentally ill, so I first encountered how social services deals with people with SMI in 1981. They removed my siblings and myself from their custody assuming this was the best method of treatment for their problems. It was not the best idea for either them or their children.

They needed vocational rehabilitation, supported employment and assertive community treatment which ensures that people are taking court-ordered medications. All of these services are provided in more or less positive ways across the 50 states dependent on how well PSR has been implemented.

Due to the way this affected my life, I went on to study mental health services provision in graduate school. My mentor, Dr. Carol Mowbray, was a pioneer in Supported Education services. I conducted my dissertation on how to assist people with serious mental illness to complete their college educations when they develop the onset of the SMI during college. At the end of my study, nearly 300 research participants at the University of Michigan and Michigan State University were enrolled in my study.

In other words, people with SMI are not always the drooling, delusional basketcases portrayed here. They hear voices. They ignore those voices. They complete novels, raise children, and go to work. My parents were low-functioning, but capable of more than social services workers ever imagined. May I suggest that you explore psychosocial rehabilitation? The professional association is a good place to start:

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