Mental health nightmare

Many times the call for help is sitting right in front of you. But can it be heard while we sit behind these narrow walls? When you arrive, medical asks if you have thoughts of harming yourself or others. If you say no, it’s brushed off and never brought up again. The mental health staff are thorough here, but only if you have a pre-existing psychiatric history! What about everyone else, what about those who haven’t been diagnosed yet or seen appropriate health care? From what we understand, the jail received more than $280,000 to be trained with helping those who are mentally ill and even plans to dedicate a pod to better serve those specific detainees. That pod is still empty and those who suffer mental health problems remains in population with everyone else. The death of Matthew McCain in 2016 and the death of Uniece Fennell recently are examples of how poorly this jail and the officers have focused on mental health since their promise last year to increase its knowledge and awareness. We guarantee everyone in this jail suffers from some sort of depression during their stay here. Being stuck in this jail means you could lose your spouse, job, house, car and even the custody of your children. The bottom line is that the experience is stressful as hell, and what do they do? They lock you behind a door for 17 hours or more each day. The officers forget about you and don’t care. There are signs when someone is suicidal or might harm themselves. And the way this place is run, it’s easy to see how they missed or didn’t notice. It’s the jail’s responsibility to maintain our health care, but it doesn’t seem like much of an effort is being done. The community has fought hard to get the jail to recognize the increasing medical and mental health needs, especially in jail. It seems as if we are playing a tug-of-war! When will they remove their rose-tinted glasses, and recognize these serious mental health needs and the dire urgency to train staff and get the mental health pod open? There is too much apathy in our state government regarding mental health. We recall former Gov. McCrory’s administration cutting mental health funding from what was passed on from the Obama administration. Politics should have no sway in mental health care!

–Several detainees

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