In recent months, just in Uniontown alone,
Pittsburgh tv media has had a field day,
reporting with shocking videos of persons with
mental illness, often with young children, living
in total squalor and chaos, usually with most or
all utilities shut off. This week's film at 11,
however, reported on Ms. Deb W. living on
Albion with a goat, 12 chickens, chinchillas,
rabbits, a few flying Rocket J. Squirrels, 15
dogs, and under them all, a foot of animal feces
on the floor.
These types of ''newsworthy'' nightmares that
exploit the mentally ill and hurt the county's
image likely would not have happened if
community mental health still performed
outreach services on a formal basis. A couple
hundred thousand extra people didn't need to
know about Ms. W's animal menagerie.
And it wasn't rocket science, either.
Successful outreach always started with
knowing the high service utilizers well. Like
snitches are valuable assets to news
reporters, the high utilizers of mental health
services always knew, always relayed concerns
and passed along information to their
therapists and supports coordinators about
anyone they perceived to be ''worse off'' and
less stable than they were. They were all each
others' circle, so to speak, and so very few of
the truly needy slipped through the cracks as a
result. Nobody's privacy was violated, either,
when this was approached correctly.
At yesterday's news conference, two county
commissioners seeking re-election and a county
controller running unopposed, patted
themselves on the back proudly for "finding''
$187K that has sat unnoticed in the county tax
claim office for several years, possibly longer.
The County of Fayette shouldn't have needed
an outside auditing firm to say that there was
a large sum of money ''somewhere.'' Nor
should it have taken more than a one-minute
meeting with department heads to ''brain
storm'' about the only office in the courthouse
where there could possibly be a huge sitting
chunk of unnoticed change.
Perhaps there is no reason to be suspect of this
magnificent find. But it seems wise to be
cautious of those who would hand over a
public-owned ampi-theater for $1,000 per
month ''rent'' to a convicted felon without first
asking if anyone else might be willing to pay
$1001 or more.
Regardless, before all the "found" jing is spent,
a wonderful suggestion would be to give up even
$10K of it to restore and enhance the family
support services program for mentally ill
adults, with the clinic coordinating a paid aide a
few hours here or there into homes of some
adults with no other supports or family, to be
the sorely missed extra set of eyes and ears.
Another recommendation for county leaders is
to use the free, accurate documentation that
my website IP traffic data provides, proving
again that some in the mental health department
of local government chose to continue to violate
county staff recreational internet usage
policies -- by reading here minutes after the
work day started and checking in again, 35 or so
minutes prior to the next work day's end.
While data clearly does not reflect the
thousands of page hits here from that same
public-funded IP -- as was documented in
previous data extractions given to county
officials -- there, shamefully, is still recent
recreational reading being done on the public's
dime on this website alone.
County leaders really intent on moving the
county forward and making a dent in the number
of Fayette's mentally ill exploited next month
in media's ''Tales From The Weird Side,''
really need to demand that these particular
staff get off their lazy behinds, off my
recreational reading website from work once
and for all and -- among other things -- relearn
the lost art of community mental health
Some have proven, so obviously, that they do
have the time.
The Animal Menagerie &
Its Stink At The Courthouse
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