LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) – Clay Anders’ full-time job includes driving a truck, running a nonprofit for at-risk youth and raising his own family while working as a caregiver and providing services to people with mental illness. The one who defends the brother of the disease. health needs.
“It’s impossible,” Anders said. “He’s struggling and you have to be there for him every day.”
The documents show that Anders’ brother, who is not being identified due to privacy concerns, was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Clay said his brother has difficulty taking care of himself and when he doesn’t take his medication, he can exhibit behaviors that could be considered dangerous,
Clay said his brother ended up in the criminal justice system after repeated attempts to get help from police failed.
“Getting a call a few days later from the county attorney saying we had good news. He now faces terroristic threats charges in the county,” Anders said. “In my opinion, that’s not good news. It’s one of the worst things that could happen and it’s the thing I want to avoid in the first place because he won’t be there to get the basic resources that he needs.”
That was a few months ago, when 10/11 first interviewed Anders. Since then, his brother has been admitted to treatment but kicked out again. He told us this cycle is frustrating.
“It’s just a broken system that’s not working properly,” Anders said.
Unfortunately, Anders and his brother’s situation is not unique. Christine Nielsen, emergency services director for Region 5 System, the agency responsible for distributing state aid, said she often hears from families whose adult loved ones are struggling.
“Every day, every day. It’s very sad because they’re stuck,” Nelson said.
While there are many agencies in the community that provide assistance to most people in need, those interviewed by 10/11 said they can’t help everyone. 10/11 After conducting more than 30 interviews with frontline personnel, we learned that the country needs more resources, more funds, more people and more options because currently too many people who need help end up in jail. .
“Our state prison system has become the largest mental hospital in the United States. That should not be the way it is,” said Omaha State Sen. John Fredrickson.
“The number of inmates with mental health needs in our prison system is high,” said Department of Corrections Inspector General Doug Koebernick.
“There are a lot of people who have been through this, and you think if they had a treatment-oriented facility, they might see this kind of positive change,” Kobernick said. “But while the Department of Corrections and its mental health team try to help someone, the environment is very different. It’s not a therapeutic environment.”
The Nebraska Probation Office is really committed to providing mental health resources to people before and after sentencing, said Deb Minardi, the state’s probation administrator.
“They’re not necessarily being arrested for criminal activity because their criminal activity is driven by their mental health or mental health instability,” Minardi said.
Kari Rumbaugh, assistant deputy administrator for juvenile probation, said providing people with these resources is key to public safety.
“We learned that we can’t ignore mental health,” Lembo said.
But once a person is incarcerated, resources are limited. The Nebraska Department of Corrections, which declined to be interviewed, said all inmates are screened for behavioral health needs and, in severe cases, can be provided with monthly treatment and medication.
Anders said he wanted better things for his brother.
“Yes, they can give him medication there, they have social workers, but when everyone goes home and he’s in solitary confinement because he’s mentally ill, how does that help him,” Anders said. It actually hurt him more and it shouldn’t be that way.”
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