Mental Health system failed man who took his own life

Posted 6 June 2017 at 9:21 am


This is regarding the expansion of services at Orleans Mental Health in Albion. To Mark O’Brien, you are two years too late.

The mental health system in general has failed miserably and needs revamping. I tried to navigate through the system 4 years ago trying to get help for my husband. He had developed depression and his general physician had no clue what to prescribe or even what he was doing when it came to prescribing medications for depression.

We sought out the county for help and was put with a caseworker for almost a year with no medication change. We needed a psychologist who could give the right medications to help the situation.

After a failed suicide attempt we were still seeing a case worker and couldn’t get to a doctor so we were told to have him hospitalized. He was in the ward for a week with medications changed and being watched to see if the medication changes were helping. The hospital was in Warsaw due to the fact that Orleans County doesn’t handle this kind of patient and there were no beds at the local hospital for this due to its closing.

After coming home, he attempted a second time with sleeping pills and Tylenol pm due to not sleeping. This almost took his liver. By this time we were able to see  a psychologist to oversee the cocktail of medications for him.

Unfortunately when he went to the appointments it was all about football and man-things that weren’t getting to the root of the problem. But they kept adding different medications, trying to help and they had him back on his feet and running for a while.

Due to marriage problems, I had left the marriage and let the staff know at Orleans Mental Health and they would not do anything to check on him or to see if any of this had triggered a problem with him. I was afraid he would do something and received no help on that front.  Once the caseworker had switched him over to the psychologist, she was done with her job.

The system failed him and me. The third attempt at suicide was successful. The system is very hard to navigate and to see who you need to see to get healthy.  I really blame your system for not helping save a human being and leaving an only son without his father. Also the Village of Albion has lost a 14-year business owner who loved what he did and was proud that his shop was in the Village of Albion in what was a vacant building.

If you are going to expand you need to give access to the right people and not string them along with a caseworker just to get money from the insurance when medications need to be changed or aren’t working.  The system in Orleans County has failed.

Deb Stevenson