No One Cares About Crazy People: The Chaos and Heartbreak of Mental Health in America, Ron Powers

Cover copy I read.

I wasn’t surprised about the brusqueness Ron Powers uncovered after seeing how quickly the county insurance system can subsume someone into a labyrinth of access issues. I live in a conservative county with conservative leadership; that type of representation is found in the majority of counties throughout the United States. Orange County at one time thought mental health was a Communist plot, so I did not come into realizing that a mental health program that is built on wellness would arrive in my county’s low-income healthcare insurance program, yet it is arriving piecemeal. The title comes from a county executive official’s attitude about the mental health budget and subsequently the people that use the mental health budget for countywide services. I doubt the political appointee regrets saying something so political considering where the budget is concerned. In Orange County, they want money to stay put and grudgingly comply with state laws imposed against their consensus, such as the initiative that focuses on delivering mental health services that passed with large numbers in 2004. Ron Powers writes emotionally about the diagnosis of two of his children to schizophrenia and the difficulty in finding proper treatment.

I found the description of the history of mental health discouraging, especially in the Northeast, where the book is located. I cannot imagine where I would be without the state and county mental health insurance program, which takes the bulk of the system away from private insurance carriers. I do not know how the county insurance systems work in the midwest, but I agree with his statement that denialism is at work. This “primal fear” leads to mismanagement and a negative influence on preventive care, which would be cost savings for counties. Counties are slowly moving in that direction, witnessed by accounts such as Ron Powers exposing both the actions of schizophrenia and the ways it can be managed by its own patients.

In the book, he described the difficulty in finding the causation of schizophrenia, the innovation of antipsychotic medication, and the future of neuropsychiatry. He also discusses the combination of madness and genius, or creativity that is considered part of and a byproduct of mental illness manifested at times. It is a touching descriptive account of how a father witnessed the manifestation of schizophrenia in their prodromal stages and during their chronic stages. I wish the best for his son and hope Dean manages his symptoms well.