Bull. Hist. Med., 2013, 87: 250–278
Psychiatry, Authoritarianism, and Revolution: The Politics of Mental
Illness during Military Dictatorships in Argentina, 1966–1983
m a r c o a. r a m o s----YALE UNIVERSITY
From 1966 to 1983, Argentina underwent a period of political radicalization as fascist regimes used terror to control its citizens and leftist guerrillas resorted to violence to spark revolution. During this politically volatile period, psychiatry transformed from an apolitical clinical specialty into an ideological tool used for both leftist resistance and military oppression. The largest psychiatric organization at the time, the Federación Argentina de Psiquiatras (FAP), became the center for a new politically committed brand of psychiatry in Argentina that united psychoanalysis and community psychiatry with Marxist theory. Though the military targeted and eventually dismantled the FAP and its leftist brand of psychoanalysis and community psychiatry, sectors of the government also para-doxically appropriated and reframed community-based psychiatric perspectives to pathologize leftist subversion and advance their own conservative ideology.
psychiatry, psychoanalysis, community psychiatry, Argentina, Dirty War, Federación Argentina de Psiquiatras
Maryland's Governor O'Malley appointed SHARFSTEIN as head of Health and Human Services----SHARFSTEIN tied to MENTAL HEALTH GLOBAL BANKING SHEPPARD PRATT -----and Sharfstein/Wen worked with BRATTON/BATTS to build far-right wing authoritarian, militaristic, extreme wealth extreme poverty global corporate fascist mental health structures with the super-duper funding sent by OBAMA AND CLINTON NEO-LIBERALS as part of Affordable Care Act..
Hmmmm ,YALE UNIVERSITY home of global 1% OLD WORLD MERCHANTS OF VENICE FREEMASONRY AND GREEKS-----and Bush family CIA------we all know Chile and Argentina were the earliest of MOVING FORWARD FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONES tied to World Bank/IMF global neo-liberalism-----RAMOS----documents just what happens in far-right global corporate fascism.....today's MOVING FORWARD US CITIES DEEMED FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONES are simply history repeating itself-----Baltimore leading the way.
TALK ABOUT REVOLVING DOOR
'Sharfstein leaves Sheppard Pratt, an expanded mental health system, after 30 years'---------------
'Md. Health Secretary Sharfstein joins Johns Hopkins faculty
By Barbara Benham / Published Sept-Oct 2014'
Please remember----this was the Bush SR/CIA period using that FAKE ALT LEFT ALT RIGHT MARXISM VS RIGHT WING GOVERNMENT so there was no LEFT RESISTANCE using these mental health methods
'sectors of the government also para-doxically appropriated and reframed community-based psychiatric perspectives to pathologize leftist subversion and advance their own conservative ideology'.
Fascism and Its Echoes, and the Othering of the Mentally Ill
Holly Müller Examines Her Family's Past, to Understand the Present
November 7, 2016 By Holly Muller
My Austrian great uncle passed away this summer. He had a learning disability and autistic traits and was one of my favorite relations. Each summer when I was young, we visited him and other family near Salzburg. He fascinated me: a grown-up who acted like a kid, who wore huge, baggy corduroy trousers with braces and a hand-knit waistcoat. He lived in an old-fashioned timber-clad house in rural Austria and was looked after by his older brother, a sour, unfriendly character. But my great uncle was happy enough. With me, he was always gentle, curious and mischievous. He was obsessed with radios and watches and, like me, adored cats. He spent most of his time with the mangy outdoor felines, kept for mousing in the sheds.
Once, he and I conspired to rescue a litter of kittens, newborn to one of those wiry moggies. Their heads were to be smashed between two stones whenever his brother got around to it—there were too many mouths to feed, and it was cheaper than spaying the cat. So, we sneakily transferred the softly mewing bodies to a new hiding place, coaxing the mother to follow. We carried them to a nearby barn where we secreted them into the torn upholstery of an old car. The mother climbed in to join her young and promptly lay down to feed them. We were both delighted with our plan and fervently hoped the kittens would survive.
Many years passed before I learned from a Holocaust historian I know that my great uncle would once have also been viewed as a “useless mouth,” a “useless feeder,” a “life unworthy of life.” He’d grown up in the Nazi era, when Austria was part of the Third Reich. Under that regime he would have been designated for death as dispassionately as those kittens had been. Up to 250,000 individuals with disabilities, mental illnesses and “asocial” behavior were involuntarily euthanized—aka murdered—in the Nazi health system. My great uncle would have been labeled “subnormal” and as suffering from “idiocy.” I still don’t know quite how he survived those brutal war years. I don’t want to ask my Austrian family about it; it’s far too sensitive a subject because my great uncle’s two brothers—the one he lived with and his other brother, my grandfather—supported the system that would have advocated his death.
My grandfather was a fascist. He was an avid member of the Hitler Youth, and joined the Wehrmacht army as soon as he was old enough, to fight for the Nazi vision. He wasn’t a Nazi Party member, but a “normal” participant in the far right principles of that era—normal for that time and place, I mean to say. I wonder if, like many amongst the population, he drew some kind of line when it came to the killing of “afflicted” members of society. There was significant public outcry amongst German and Austrian citizens against the Nazi euthanasia program later known as “T4,” so much so that the killing clinics were forced into covert activity between 1941-45. Perhaps my grandfather was one of those who objected, or perhaps he was ambivalent, or perhaps he just made an exception for a loved one.
If my great uncle hadn’t been disabled, would my grandfather have been in favor of T4? After all, he dehumanized whole swathes of the population, those who were seen as “other” and labeled “subhuman”—Jews, gypsies, gay people. Decades of propaganda—the malicious use of language to stoke up hatred and fear—had cemented his prejudice and instilled a sense of superiority.
As I grappled with these very unsettling questions about my family, with the knowledge that my grandfather had been not just a complicit observer but a perpetrator, I found myself wanting to write about my great uncle. I wanted to explore the dangerously reductive labels applied to those considered “other.” After much hesitation, due to the disturbing nature of the topic, I decided to research and then write about what happened in the Nazi killing clinics. It would be fiction, but based on real testimony, to try to portray the experiences of those who’d been incarcerated and tortured there, living in fear of death.
I read plenty of history books and wrote to Austrian TV companies to request copies of lesser-known documentaries about the notorious Am Spiegelgrund clinic in Vienna. This was a clinic specifically for children and young people who were labeled “mentally deficient” or “asocial,” many of whom were secretly killed there. The footage of the empty hospital was haunting, oppressive, and extremely upsetting: echoing corridors, bare rooms with barred windows, and tall trees shielding the hospital on all sides. The testimonies of survivors recounted brutality I could scarcely bear to hear. I felt grief for those killed, for their terrible suffering. Also for their families, who described receiving a pot of ashes in the post with a note of condolence from the hospital, saying their son or daughter had unfortunately died of pneumonia or appendicitis. Some families knew for sure that this was a lie, as their children’s appendixes had been removed years before. It was unthinkable trauma, and harrowing to imagine my kind and loving great uncle meeting such a fate.
The story of the clinics also resonated on another level with my personal experiences of mental health. If I’d lived in Austria in the 1930s or 40s, I would have been a candidate for T4, too, labeled “asocial,” “incurably sick” or “mentally deranged” and perhaps granted a “mercy death.” Between the ages of 20 and 21, I lived in a mental hospital. Diagnosed with a chronic eating disorder when I was 16, I’d also struggled with associated behavioral problems, such as compulsive theft, self-harm, alcohol abuse, drug abuse and suicidal tendencies; “asocial” traits, for certain. Dangerously thin and self-destructive, I couldn’t study, work, or support myself. Help eventually came in the form of admission to an inpatient facility in St. Georges’s Hospital in London. In stark contrast to the experiences of those during the Nazi era, I was cared for, nurtured, healed and reintroduced into society over the course of a couple of years. The care I received was of an extremely high standard; it cost the state £250 a day to keep me there. I’ve never stopped being grateful for that—my life was saved and my quality of life, after a long fight, was restored to me.
I cannot conceive of the gulf between what was given to me and what was taken from those young people in Nazi Germany. But, as someone with a mental illness whose existence was on hold for many years, I too experienced what it was to be labeled—albeit in a far less extreme sense. I knew that society viewed me as “other” and I carried that feeling with me for a long time: I was “unstable,” “mad,” “crazy” or “disturbed.” I became those labels for a while; I internalized the powerful stigmas attached to them. I felt ashamed of my condition—worthless, like damaged goods. I imagined I’d never be able to access “normal” life, the world of “normal,” healthy-minded people. I feared my illness was too frightening and repellant. I felt utterly separate, corralled into a kind of paddock where I believed I would always have to live with others of my kind.
Many people didn’t understand my illness and were afraid. Or they saw me as a petulant, manipulative or faddy young woman obsessed with dieting, selfishly upsetting her family, messing everyone around, and using up precious resources. I should “snap out of it”—what about those with “real” health issues? Each time I went to queue up at the benefit office, still struggling with profound mental health problems, I imagined accusing stares, or disapproval and suspicion from the person who served me at the counter.
These days, with a thankfully wider lens afforded by the passage of time, confidence in my own wellness, and many years of working with vulnerable adults, I’ve been able to reflect on the social phenomenon of labeling and “othering.” I feel passionately the importance of protecting positive perceptions of those with mental health issues, disabilities, or learning difficulties. It is vital to be vigilant about the words chosen to represent groups of people and to be watchful about how those words are put to use by the media and the government.
Language holds the power to diminish, dehumanize, and destroy—as it did with thousands in Nazi Germany. I’m not suggesting there’ll ever be a repeat of the Nazi killing clinics, but I don’t draw that comparison lightly either. What happened there was an extreme instance of “othering.” The humanity of the murdered individuals was utterly overlooked; the definition of “normal” had been narrowed over time and a negative slur was placed on any who didn’t fit the mold.
On a smaller scale, I see this narrowing and dehumanizing happening now via stigmatized labeling in the media. The disabled or mentally ill are used as societal scapegoats, perceptions become skewed, and the result is the homogenizing, demonizing and persecution of whole sections of the population.
For example, in the US gun control debate, violent gun crimes (such as mass shootings) are again and again attributed to mental illness; in the shocked aftermath of such a tragedy, calls for better mental health screening for gun ownership or better mental health care in general, implies a direct link between mental illness and mass violence. The media deflects attention away from alternative solutions, such as restricting gun access for all. When faced with a horrific, senseless crime like a school shooting, it’s understandable to some extent to immediately consider mental illness as an explanation. But few of those who commit the violence are actually mentally ill. If they’re automatically referred to as “sick” or “insane” killers, then what disservice is being done to those with mental illnesses in general? Alienating labels, used repeatedly, increase negative feeling towards the mentally ill in a very real sense. There is no evidence to suggest a mentally ill person is more prone to violence. But, being “other,” they are an easy group to target. For those struggling with their mental health, the persistent stigma is a powerful barrier between themselves and other people, and might keep them from seeking treatment.
The austerity cuts to disability benefits and mental health provision in the UK is also pertinent, the narrative being that the measures will incentivize this group of people into reentering the workplace. As if all that the claimants lack is incentive! Couple this with the UK media’s continual use of terms like “work-shy,” “scrounger,” “lazy,” “scum,” “benefit cheat” or “fraudster,” and we have a serious distortion of public perception and increased hostility. Those who can’t work due to long-term illnesses, disabilities, or mental health problems have spoken of struggling to cope financially, of feelings of low self-worth. There is anger; they are being misrepresented. There have been suicides. The Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) campaign group, and others, has adopted the inverted black triangle as their symbol, referencing the Nazi era badge sewn onto the concentration camp uniform of a person categorized as “asocial” or “Arbeitsscheu” (“work-shy”). The DPAC hasn’t missed the present-day echoes and is fighting fiercely against the tide.
“They say when trouble comes close ranks” writes Jean Rhys in Wide Sargasso Sea. And as things have got tougher economically, followed by the rise of the far right, trouble has indeed come. But, as Rhys’s novel explores, what if you are not in their ranks? What if you’re one of the “others”? Then, there is threat in the air. I’ve found myself feeling thankful to not now be falling ill, to not now be needing help, to not now be queuing at the benefit office, having to battle that much harder to prove my validity and worth. I’m thankful too that my great uncle lived his life when he did, surviving that first great danger, and dying at an old age, accepted in his community, valued as each human deserves to be, and supported. He was contented and independent; he was known, liked and appreciated. He was safe.
We have spoken of corruption in the police department and discussed in detail the FAILURE OF CHECKS AND BALANCES agencies to hold the police accountable. We spoke of a medical examiner's office deliberately hiding facts in cases of death.
Here in Baltimore, when we share the CAPITATION called a MODEL FOR HEALTH AND MENTAL HEALTH CARE so consolidated and privatized this entire Baltimore Public Health Department into the hands of global hedge fund IVY LEAGUE Johns Hopkins and that global investment firm SHEPPARD PRATT that Baltimore has been literally a global corporate plantation----everything tied to social services controlled by that corporate partnership.
'Also for their families, who described receiving a pot of ashes in the post with a note of condolence from the hospital, saying their son or daughter had unfortunately died of pneumonia or appendicitis'.
We hear on the bus all the time our poor tied to social services speaking of having their money stolen by this system created by SHARFSTEIN/BLOOMBERG with Baltimore City Council and Baltimore Mayor SCHMOKE, O'MALLEY, DIXON, RAWLINGS-BLAKE, NOW PUGH.
So, we are to imagine the same global 1% neo-liberals having installed ARGENTINA'S BRUTAL DICTATOR leading to the worst of corporate fascism----as too Chile----as too Zimbabwe----as too all of South Asia.......are MOVING FORWARD simple police/clinician SWAT TEAMS to help our poor and disabled and community relations with POLICE.
A Baltimore citizen getting caught in this system ---rarely gets out and feel they need to DO ANYTHING THEY ARE TOLD. This is from where many of UNQUALIFIED HOMEOWNERS AND COLLEGE STUDENTS come in Baltimore's massive subprime mortgage loan frauds and for-profit college tuition frauds.
The Providers provide and coordinate the full range of services needed by clients to live a meaningful life in the community
Initial and on-going mental health assessment and evaluation;
Mental health outpatient treatment;
Mental health partial hospitalization;
Mental health intensive outpatient services;
Psychiatric rehabilitation services;
Psychiatric inpatient treatment;
Crisis, residential crisis, and respite services;
Employment and vocational services;
Education and skills training;
Housing, residential support, and residential rehabilitation services;
Co-occurring disorders services (groups and individual services for members dually disordered with mental illness and substance use disorders);
Family support services;
Case management services;
Entitlement application and coordination to ensure receipt of benefits.
The provider is also required to ensure the following:
All clients receive the medications and other medical supplies needed for their care.
No one has been more a part of knowing all these Baltimore Public Health structures for mental health and police have existed for these few decades of CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA----then our current BALTIMORE MAYOR PUGH-----top cheerleader for global hedge fund IVY LEAGUE Johns Hopkins and all those policies-----and here we have that MEGA DATA COLLECTION TEAM----CITI STAT SMART CITI STAT which O'Malley installed for MOVING FORWARD with all that individual health data easily apparent to see the revolving door of mental health ----policing------MEDICARE MEDICAID funding.
PUGH says who is better to continue this march to far-right global corporate fascism with police tied to mental health then O'MALLEY'S former staff. 99% of Baltimore want to be rid of O'MALLEY MACHINE-----Baltimore City Council and Mayor PUGH won't think of it.
Who trains these corporate social worker clinicians in many cases? The same Sheppard Pratt/Johns Hopkins system giving us ZERO TOLERANCE AND EXCESSIVE FORCE POLICING.
Remember, SUSTAINABILITY is far-right wing global 1% CORPORATE SUSTAINABILITY FOR ONLY THE GLOBAL 1%----it is not 99% SUSTAINABILITY. The goal will be to assure global corporate campuses and global factories in US Foreign Economic Zones operate here as they do overseas ----and that brings lots of FREE LABOR---FORCED LABOR...
Crime & Justiceby Mark Reutter4:00 pmAug 11, 2017
Can a novice and an insider bring clarity to the mayor’s crime-fighting strategy?
For the new CitiStat director, reinvention and rebranding – but no experience in law enforcement. An analysis of Mayor Pugh’s picks for two key jobs.
Above: Mayor Catherine Pugh announces the appointments of Kendra Parlock (right) and Drew Vetter. (Charm TV)
More than once Mayor Catherine Pugh asserted “I cannot be more proud” as she announced on Wednesday the appointments of Kendra Parlock and Andrew G. “Drew” Vetter to two of the most important positions in public safety outside of the Police Department itself.
Parlock and Vetter will each be paid $165,000 a year to serve as Pugh’s “eyes and ears” to implement, evaluate, coordinate and analyze a violence reduction plan, which was also unveiled this week in 20-page-booklet form.
With colorful graphics and uplifting pictures, the booklet stitched together Pugh’s ideas (summarized here) about how she plans to reduce violence and crime that has surged under her watch.
The statistical context for her plan could scarcely be more grim.
So far in 2017, homicides are running 19% above last year’s already-high toll.
Robberies have increased by 16%, aggravated assault rose 18%, common assault are up 30% and carjackings have jumped a breathtaking 49%.
So how does the mayor’s new team plan to stem the tide?
“I’ll be reinventing the office,” Parlock breezily told reporters after she was introduced as the new person in charge of CitiStat.
Her first step, she said, would be to rebrand CitiStat’s name to CitiSmart. (CitiStat was developed by former Mayor Martin O’Malley as an analytic tool to track crime and hold police brass accountable; it’s been considered highly successful and been copied by other cities.)
Parlock will be overseeing CitiStat/CitiSmart as director of the Office of Sustainable Solutions.
This brand-new office at City Hall is inspired by Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire philanthropist and ex-New York City mayor who is handing out $1.5 million to urban mayors (including Pugh) to establish “Innovation Teams” to analyze and solve urban problems.
Vetter has not been given a new title.
As director of the long-troubled Mayor’s Office on Criminal Justice (high staff turnover, few concrete accomplishments), he said his top priority was to craft its mission.
He clicked off a number of activities such as “rebuild the office, engage law enforcement leaders, data analysis and tracking.”
He declared that he, too, would be performance driven and was determined to “really define what things the city can do” about crime and violence reduction.
In terms of direct experience in the fields of law enforcement and public safety policymaking, Parlock and Vetter have, respectively, zero and 2½ years.
Parlock has spent her entire career as a marketer and manager of chemical products (as befits her undergraduate degree in microbiology at the University of Florida).
According to her Linked-In profile, she has never worked in the public sector.
The last job listed in her profile ended in October 2016, when she left Cabot Corporation, a Boston-based chemical company, after one year and six months as global segment manager for the Purification Solutions Division.
According to the mayor’s office, “Kendra brings a wealth of experience in strategy, business development and innovation. She comes from the private sector where she used market and operations data to develop new product and services and to transform organizational processes.”
(At Wednesday’s press conference, Mayor Pugh hailed Parlock’s achievement as a Six Sigma Black Belt, which the mayor described as “an exceptional certificate in driving performance with data.” According to a Six Sigma website, the title is given to participants who complete four or more weeks of management training in the Six Sigma principles, including team building, knowledge of lean enterprise concepts and use of analytic tools.)
On the other hand, Vetter has some grounding in law enforcement.
Since February 2015, he’s occupied two managerial areas in the Baltimore Police Department, first as director of government affairs, then as chief of staff to Police Commissioner Kevin Davis.
Friends in High Places
In terms of political connections, however, Parlock and Vetter seem to have what it takes.
For example, Parlock on December 18 posted a snapshot of herself and Mayor Pugh beaming in front of a Christmas tree at her Bolton Hill home.
“Happy to have our friend Mayor Pugh at our home for Christmas,” she wrote (to which she got this reply from another commenter: “Friends in high places”).
Election board records show that Parlock contributed $50 to Pugh’s election campaign last year.
“Happy to have our friend Mayor Pugh at our home for Christmas,” Parlock posted on Facebook next to a photo from a December 2016 holiday party. (Kendrick Rice Parlock Facebook)
We sent the photo to the mayor’s office and received a reply from spokesman Anthony McCarthy:
“This photo was taken at an annual Christmas party that Kendra and her husband host for about 100 of their neighbors and friends. She is an active board member of the Mt. Royal Improvement Association. Mayor Pugh represented Bolton Hill as senator. Numerous other elected officials were also present. The mayor and Kendra had no formal relationship before Kendra came to work for the administration.”
A Curran who worked for O’Malley
Vetter’s role in the Police Department paralleled his prior duties as a political operative and data wonk for O’Malley.
The grandson of the late Delegate Gerald J. Curran and a relation to O’Malley wife, Catherine Curran O’Malley, Vetter’s first job out of college was as an analyst at CitiStat in 2004.
In 2005-06, he coordinated the O’Malley transition team after O’Malley was elected Maryland’s governor, according to his Linked-In profile.
He went on to serve as special assistant for the governor’s deputy chief of staff, then worked for Maryland Economic Development Secretary Christian Johansson and finally returned to O’Malley’s side as director of government affairs.
With his extensive ties to state government, Vetter’s role in the Pugh administration clearly will be to keep the money flowing to the Baltimore Police Department, especially from the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention that ponies up millions for BPD technology upgrades and crime prevention programs.
Whether Vetter will act as a voice independent of the views of his former boss, Commissioner Davis, is not so clear. Vetter’s longtime role as an “inside player” worried a police source who spoke with The Brew yesterday:
“Just going along with what your commissioner says isn’t the way to go. Now that Vetter’s in this new position, can he push away the relationship he has built with Davis over the last two years and say to him, ‘This is unacceptable,’ and then tell the mayor she’s got to fix it? I honestly don’t know if that’s going to happen.”
Looking Beyond Crime
Vetter, of course, has the institutional knowledge to serve as the new CitiStat director, but Mayor Pugh has much higher ambitions for that post.
In answer to Brew questions, the mayor’s spokesman outlined the duties that will fall to Parlock:
“The mission of the Office of Sustainable Solutions is to make Baltimore more resilient by using data, innovation and technology to create solutions with results that will be sustained beyond the current administration and teams that are currently in place.”
The goals of the Office of Sustainable Solutions will include, according to McCarthy:
• Launch of an expanded CitiStat program that is focused on violence reduction as the priority.
• Development of additional performance metrics for economic development, homelessness, blight and student tracking.
• Creation of a Performance Dashboard to monitor results and track performance.
• Foster cross-agency collaboration and innovation.
• Improve communication of progress and performance results.
“Mayor Pugh has enormous confidence in both Ms. Parlock and Mr. Vetter to meet the expectations she has for their positions,” McCarthy added
The US Justice Department has been brought in these few decades as CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA used third world tactics to clear US cities MOVING FORWARD with development clearing people any way they wanted----no citizens rights----no US Rule of Law----when communities reached its limits---in comes the US Justice Department to PRETEND it was addressing citizens' civil rights and liberties issues when in fact almost none of these US Justice DECREES have been implemented in any US city----as it will not in Baltimore. These 5% black, white, and brown players MOVING FORWARD all this US city FAILED STATE are the same people assigned to be CIVIL RIGHT MONITORS. The global Wall Street Baltimore Development 5% player 'labor and justice' leaders are always assigned to be those community police monitors---the same people supporting every time the policing policies and commissioners appointed by global hedge fund IVY LEAGUE Johns Hopkins.
The martial law shutdown of an entire community for 4 days after this police officer's death raised huge civil liberties issues for 99% of citizens ----nothing MOVING FORWARD with consent decree nothing moving forward to assure martial law is not used ILLEGALLY.
We are sure this CONSENT DECREE group will use that US Justice Department decree to MOVE FORWARD global corporate policing and security structures calling them GOOD FOR COMMUNITIES AND CITIZENS.
A friend comments on this article----and he is right----identifying a member of this decree group as a 1% black BOULE member---the player is appointed to be the MONITOR. This same situation exists on all police oversight boards called COMMUNITY/CITIZENS' boards.
'NOW IF ATTNY KENNETH THOMPSON (A KNOWN BOULE MEMBER ) & THE CONSENT DECREE MONITORING TEAM MEMBERS DID NOT BOTHER TO TAKE ANY.ACTIONS FOR THE RESIDENTS IN HARLEM PARK.AFTER THE COMMUNITY LOCKDOWN THAT TELLS YOU WHO THEY ARE REALLY WORKING/ TWERKING FOR HERE IN BALTO'.
It is becoming very obvious that policing and mental health tied to crime and violence is becoming farther and farther right wing and oppressive as a response-----and this will not end well for any population group 99% of black, white, or brown citizens in US cities deemed Foreign Economic Zones.
Residents express frustration over pace of police consent decree monitoring
Jessica AndersonContact Reporter
The Baltimore Sun Nov 28, 2017
Residents gathered Tuesday night at the second public meeting on the Baltimore police consent decree expressed frustration over what they said was the slow process of the monitors, asking why they weren’t in the Harlem Park neighborhood that was shut down for days after the fatal shooting of Detective Sean Suiter.
“Here’s the epic fail — not one of them showed up,” said Monique Smith. She said team members should have gone to the neighborhood to observe police who had taped off part of the neighborhood and restricted access, checking residents’ identification while looking for evidence related to the detective’s death.
The monitoring team is responsible for overseeing the a federal consent decree reached between the city and U.S. Department of Justice officials earlier this year.
Several dozen attended Tuesday’s meeting at Frederick Douglass High School’s auditorium—the second of four being held across the city to solicit input from the community before the monitoring team submits its plan to a federal judge in January.
The team is working to create a one-year and five-year plan to monitor the department’s compliance with the decree.
The consent decree was reached after a Justice Department investigation into Baltimore police following the April 2015 death of Freddie Gray from injuries sustained in police custody and subsequent rioting in the city. That investigation found widespread discriminatory and unconstitutional policing in Baltimore, particularly in poor, predominantly black neighborhoods.
The mandate requires the department to update policies, training and technology in various areas, including the way it deals with the community and handles instances of officer misconduct.
But at Tuesday’s meeting, many residents expressed concern that team members were not more actively involved in immediate problems with police actions.
“We are dying every day [and] it’s going to take them one year to get acclimated,” Smith said of the monitors.
“You don’t look hungry enough for me. You’re too passive,” she said of the team.
Lead monitor Ken Thompson assured residents that monitors were aware of the community’s concerns and they were keeping an eye on the situation. However, Thompson has said the team’s actions is limited by the federal decree.
The team, he said, is responsible for making sure the department is complying with the mandated reforms.
The plan they are working on, he said, is an important “roadmap” for instituting the reforms.
But several residents interrupted the presentation, asking for action now, and not to wait for a formal plan to be written and wait for data to be collected.
“Come and see what’s going on in the community,” called out one woman. She said that if a police officer had been killed in Roland Park, a predominantly white and wealthy neighborhood, the response would have been different.
Others expressed concern that monitors didn’t do enough to alert residents to the meetings and questioned why they don’t post information on Twitter and Facebook, to reach more residents.
Monitors members said they have not yet received approval from a federal judge to create new social media accounts.
Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh briefly attended part of the meeting, sitting next to some residents who asked questions. She chatted with them quietly as the presentation continued.
Gary Nelson, a city firefighter, left amid the back-and-forth in the auditorium.
“I feel this descending,” he said of the exchanges.
Nelson said he’s concerned that the monitor team, which includes lawyers, former law enforcement officials, policing experts and mediators, does not include residents.
He also said he’s worried that the concerns of residents about police will be overlooked.
Smith said she volunteers with Loving Arms, a nonprofit that works with homeless youths, and has struggled to get police officers to write reports for missing children.
She said taking a report is an example of an opportunity for offcers to build positive relationships with the community.
“You want to be friendly, take a police report,” she said. “It’s a piece of paper, and you don’t need to get in your car and get in a high-speed chase.”
But Smith said she had hopes that the consent decree will result in a better police force.
The other public meetings scheduled by monitors are:
• Wednesday, 5 p.m.-9 p.m., Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, 1400 Orleans St.
• Dec. 19, 5 p.m.-9 p.m., Harford Heights Elementary School, 1919 N. Broadway.
As we end this week's discussion of police corruption and mental health public policy both of police and citizens-----we will bring this discussion to our K-12 public schools where police are being inserted at every turn-----students inserted into policing programs------and behavioral health is gauged, tracked, and profiled in MEGA-DATA CITI STAT-----
We already have such a great civil rights problem with children and LABELS in our Baltimore Public Schools. We KNOW for decades students of average and above achievement ability were tracked in large numbers into special needs classes with low-level quality of education for having behavior problems. Ritalin et al used to drug students identified with any number of behavior problems----as we say------
WE ARE MOVING TOWARDS IDENTIFYING ORDINARY HUMAN BEHAVIOR AS A BEHAVIORAL PROBLEM.
The problem for Baltimore City public schools is the defunding and misappropriation of school funds dismantling all the strong staffing measures needed for low-income community schools---that is why classrooms have been disrupted these few decades----and why those students needing learning skills development did not get that. Time and again we are told WRAP-AROUND FUNDS will correct that and time and again all the wrap-around funds go to city center stable public schools and not the schools NEEDING THAT FUNDING.
Again, funds are misappropriated-----civil rights to equal opportunity and access are denied----and a growing repressive and regressive education system is being installed all while calling it HELPING POOR STUDENTS broadening exposures to mental health designations for students and police state societal modeling being installed.....
THERE'S A GLOBAL NGO FOR THAT ----APP.
TELE-HEALTH PSYCHIATRIC TREATMENT FOR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL STUDENTS--------OH, YEAH THAT WILL HELP!
Baltimore keeps identifying these societal problems for decades and MOVING FORWARD keeps making all this worse and worse and worse-----so we'll just continue to send in the psychologists and tele-therapy and make community economics, unemployment, access to health care, closing public schools for even less access--------------------------but we have LOTS OF PSYCHOLOGISTS AND MENTAL HEALTH PHARMA
'Last September, the city school system received a two-year, $2.3 million Promoting Student Resilience grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Only two other cities – Chicago and St. Louis – got one of the grants, which are targeted for areas traumatized by civil unrest.
About the same time, the Health Department received a three-year, $5 million companion grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to provide trauma-informed community services in the neighborhoods'.
behavioral health June 13, 2017 — 11:53am
Baltimore city schools respond to crisis with behavioral health programs
by Paul Jablow
Paul JablowMatthew Henson Elementary school principal David Guzman (left) talks with James Padden, director of related services for Baltimore City schools district.
Editor's note: The Notebook has a two-year grant from the van Ameringen Foundation of New York to cover behavioral health in schools.
Although most of our coverage will focus on Philadelphia, we will occasionally highlight programs in other areas where the work might be of interest to our readership.
In the first of these stories, we take a look at behavioral health services in some Baltimore City schools and the differences those services are making for students.
Almost immediately after starting her job in 2015 as Baltimore’s health commissioner, Leana Wen took a series of walking tours around the city, listening to residents’ concerns.
Much of what she heard was expected, but what she was told by public school students surprised her.
“I thought they’d ask about smoking or STDs,” Wen recalled. “But what every single one of them talked about was mental health.
“They talked about what it was like to grow up in a house where they were the only one to get up in the morning. Everyone else was on drugs.
“They saw moms, fathers, and uncles overdose. They saw their fathers being shot. They were talking about what I would call pervasive trauma.”
Three months later, as Wen worked with health officials, the schools, and other agencies to develop a strategy to deal with the problem, the death of Freddie Gray in April 2015 put a national spotlight on Baltimore.
Gray, 25, died from spinal injuries a week after he went into police custody, and his case led to more than a week of protests and rioting. Businesses were burned and looted, almost three dozen arrests were made, and 15 police officers were injured.
But the case also gave the schools and the Health Department a chance to concentrate behavioral health services in, essentially, three traumatized neighborhoods in West Baltimore.
Last September, the city school system received a two-year, $2.3 million Promoting Student Resilience grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Only two other cities – Chicago and St. Louis – got one of the grants, which are targeted for areas traumatized by civil unrest.
About the same time, the Health Department received a three-year, $5 million companion grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to provide trauma-informed community services in the neighborhoods.
“Our schools were experiencing trauma,” said James Padden, director of related services for the school district. “The whole city was experiencing trauma.”
Padden recalled the furious scramble to meet the application deadline. “We did it in 19 days … 11-hour days, nights, weekends.”
What emerged was a plan concentrating on 13 “focus schools” with more than 4,600 students in what would come to be called “the Freddie Gray neighborhoods” – Upton-Druid Heights, Sandtown-Winchester, and Penn North.
The plan included:
- Putting a full-time mental health clinician in each of the 13 schools.
- Hiring a full-time trauma manager and two full-time trauma trainers.
- Increased training for all school personnel on the effects of trauma. Every person in every school now gets a 30-minute module on trauma-informed practices, sexual abuse, child abuse, and neglect. (To learn about training for school police and its effects, see “Baltimore school police help shift school climate”).
- An evaluation by the University of Maryland Center for School Mental Health and Johns Hopkins University.
School officials and teachers see the effort not so much in terms of reinventing the wheel as in making sure seeing that all the wheels finally turn together.
“We’ve always had so many piecemeal responses,” said Megan Miskowski, a speech-language pathologist.
Sonja Santelises, CEO of the public school system, said, “Even with real, substantive efforts, the reality is that systems this large aren’t equipped to take a cohesive approach.”
Now, there is hope that this will happen.
“As bad as it was, [Freddie Gray's case] brought us all together,” said Philip J. Leaf, a public health professor at Johns Hopkins and co-chair, with Padden, of the grant’s steering committee.
A battered city
In its application for the student resilience grant, the school system noted that for years, Baltimore has had one of the highest murder rates in the nation.
“In 2015,” the application stated, “29 percent of all homicides were of individuals aged 10 to 25 years.”
In the zip codes where the focus schools are located, the picture is equally grim. Twenty-five percent of the children live in extreme poverty.
In one of the neighborhoods – Upton-Druid Heights – the median household income is less than $16,000 a year.
Sixteen percent of the city’s high school students have seriously considered suicide, according to Baltimore Behavioral Health Systems (BBHS), which coordinates behavioral health programs for the school district and other city agencies.
Denise Wheatley-Rowe of BBHS estimates that at any one time, 2,300 of the system’s 84,000 students are homeless, living in shelters, or “couch surfing” with different friends or relatives.
A drive through the neighborhoods puts faces on the numbers. At the transit hub where the Freddie Gray rioting started, addicts wander aimlessly.
The commercial streets are lined with pawn shops, takeout joints, and cheap clothing stores.
“What you don’t see are banks,” said Andrew Masters, youth health and wellness coordinator for the Health Department.
There are no dentists, he noted, no eye doctors and, equally important, no police officers.
Social worker Henriette Taylor, who is the community school coordinator for the Promise Heights neighborhood, recalled two mothers who had each lost two children to violence forming a neighborhood trauma support group.
When the neighborhood received a donation of playground equipment, about 500 volunteers jumped in to assemble it.
On an unseasonably warm winter day, the playground was filled with kids. But the benches they had also assembled were missing, stolen by residents who needed furniture.
“We’re building the capacity to climb out of holes,” Masters said.
Serving those in need
Although the grants to the school system and the Health Department were from new federal programs, the school system had a considerable background in behavioral health.
Leaf noted that in the mid-1930s, Baltimore became one of the first U.S. cities to have social workers in the school system. Today it has more school psychologists than the Philadelphia system, which has more than 50 percent more students,
Since 1987, Baltimore has provided Expanded School Mental Services (ESMH) to supplement school social workers, psychologists, and guidance counselors.
The system now serves 120 public and charter schools. A 2008-09 program evaluation showed that students receiving ESMH made up about one-fifth of all students, and in most grades, they showed improved academic performance and attendance.
In addition to ESMH, the resilience grant will provide:
- Training for all school staff in Restorative Practices, a framework for dealing with problem behaviors through parties taking responsibility for their actions and working to rebuild any damaged relationships.
- *Kognito, an online avatar-based program that teaches adults to recognize and address psychological distress in youth, and Friend2Friend, a similar program for youth 14 to 18 on dealing with peers experiencing distress.
- Mindfulness and yoga groups to which students may be referred.
- And training for school-based behavioral health professionals on providing evidence-based trauma treatment for youth up to age 18 and their caregivers.
In addition, social worker Jennifer Cox said, “You’re in your school, where you’re comfortable.”
Psychiatrist Aronica Cotton said she finds the system to be working. The students are used to being in front of computers and it makes it easier for the schools to create a treatment team.
Speech pathologist Miskowski said that the team approach is one of the reasons she finds the new grants promising.
Even though she isn’t a behavioral health specialist, she said, someone in her position might be the first to notice mental health issues.
And in neighborhoods plagued by poverty, drugs, and violence, the school might be the best place to spot it.
“Often, it’s the safest place they can be.”