Thursday, May 10, 2007

Don't Go Crazy

Ever wondered what would happen to you if you went crazy? If you have health insurance, you can probably go to a private institution to receive care. But, if you become a ward of the state, you'll wind up in a state hospital. In Alabama, we have 4 locations where the state houses the insane.

The first, and most famous, is Bryce Hospital. There are several facilities on the 'campus' of Bryce, ranging from geriatric care to housing for the criminally insane. Another, the North Alabama Regional Hospital in Decatur, houses roughly 100+ patients. In Montgomery, Greil Hospital houses a specialized unit for deaf and blind people who are also mentally handicapped. The last is Searcy Hospital, located in Mt. Vernon. Searcy is the second oldest state hospital, after Bryce.

From time to time, you hear of horror stories relating to state hospitals. In these sometimes understaffed, or more likely, under-regulated facilities inmates are starved to death, beaten to death* or neglected to the point of deterioration. It's no wonder people who need help, but can't afford a private institution are often too afraid to go.

It's also no wonder that these places become fodder for horror movies. I've personally heard horror stories of experiences in mental hospitals. I think the experience of being there might be enough, by itself, to send one over the edge.

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