A Massachusetts mother is suing a state psychiatric facility for keeping her 31-year-old son, who is diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in restraints and in solitary confinement for 6,300 hours since he arrived there 15 months ago.
Joanne Minich's son Peter hasn't been out of Bridgewater State Hospital since her arrived there in January 2013. It's a nightmare straight out of the most horrifying tales of institutionalization dating back a century.
"My son has an illness, in the same sense as someone with cancer or dementia. The last place he belongs is in a seclusion room behind a solid steel door," Joanne Minich said in a statement.
Someone brought this terrifying story to my attention this week, and I felt it important to share it with all of you.
It is absolutely incredible the ways in which those with mental illness are boxed in. They are labeled then set on the conveyor belt, which takes them through the health care system, often via the penal system, then left with inadequate social support they're thrust right back onto the beginning of the belt again.
There's an obvious cycle, but the one Peter Minich is on is unbelievable. It is stunning in both its Draconianism and indignity. When I heard his story, I felt as though I was in a time-warp, or perhaps I just wish it so.
His health has obviously deteriorated in the past year and one must wonder what will become of him if there isn't an intervention his "treatment" soon.
"While we cannot comment on specific individuals or cases, the use of seclusion and restraint at Bridgewater State Hospital (BSH) is a clinical decision and one we view as a measure of last resort to protect patients from each other, from themselves and to keep staff safe," the MA Department of Corrections said in a statement.