Would you enjoy “The Reluctant Archivist?” Take the quiz and find out!’
1. Seeing the phrases “mental illness,” “politics,” and “mystery” together makes you feel: a) nothing in particular b) intrigued c) somewhat repelled.
2. You would rather read: a) a book set in the here and now b) a book set in medieval times c) a book set in the 1970’s
3. To read a book to its end, you need: a) over a dozen quirky characters b) the possibility that the main characters find no meaning in their experience c) a main character who realizes his purpose
4. Your usual attitude toward the Midwestern U.S. is: a) it’s a down-to-earth place b) seems kinda boring to me c) never been there and don’t care to go
5. You think the main character should usually: a) show flaws but also great resilience b) never waver and be strong as iron c) have the most weaknesses and limitations of any character
6. Your ideal fiction book has: a) steamy romance and innuendo b) mystery elements and twists c) new technological gadgets
Chose most of these?
* 1970’s setting
* intrigued by mental illness, politics, and mystery
* main character who finds his purpose
* the Midwest is a down-to-earth place
* flawed but resilient main character
* twists and mystery
You’ll enjoy “The Reluctant Archivist.”
Mill Fairbairn is a mental health advocate, lesser known but no less determined than U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy. (sponsor of HR 3717, “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis”) He’s also a book character. Like many advocates, a crisis struck close to home and propelled Mill into the fray. Rep. Murphy introduced HR 3717 in 2013, and unfortunately, it’s “still just a bill.”
Will my letter to my congressman make a difference? I want to be more like these two gentlemen, so I’m going to do something I don’t often do. I am going to presume the answer is yes. I am going to set my butt down and write a letter supporting HR 3717. Not just clicking to sign a letter and speed it on its way, but composing each word. A letter from Julie–author, social worker, and parent. What a concept.
You value privacy in your health care, but if that privacy prevented your primary MD and a specialist or two from coordinating your various treatments, you might feel differently. And the state of Minnesota seems to be leading the charge in enabling MDs, paramedics, and ER clinicians to share information when needed.
I assert this is even more crucial for people with long-term mental illness. Family and friends, strained by the person’s unpredictable or unpleasant behavior, may be unavailable or unwilling to take the time to advocate for the patient. When docs can’t access the treatment and medication history needed to create a personalized treatment plan–look out! People are misdiagnosed, prescribed duplicate or previously intolerable meds, and are at great risk for relapse or re-hospitalization.
Many of us remember the Community Mental Health Act, passed during JFK’s administration. The Act funded construction of outpatient community mental health centers, with the good intention of making the psych unit obsolete. Medical and treatment monitoring boosted patient autonomy and positive self-image. Unfortunately, the under-funded programs didn’t translate into enough centers to accommodate the many people who needed them.
Because of the push from government budget concerns, groups of hospitals, home care agencies, and physician practices are finally collaborating. Sharing information via integrated software networks is permitted as patients sign a release upon admission. Having sympathized at the bedside with hundreds of patients insisting “their doctors never talk to each other,” I know this is not an isolated problem.
Whether or not I am a JFK-admirer is not the point. I think JFK would be encouraged and pleased with Minnesota’s Community Health Network. Not to mention coalitions such as Rush University Medical Center’s Bridge Program, here in my good ‘ol Chicago.