Opinion: Urgent admissions

POSTED: 01/24/12 1:34 PM

Here is another trend our government needs to keep an eye on. A research by Louk van der Post shows that the number of urgent admissions of psychiatric patients has doubled in Amsterdam in the past twenty years. The number of psychiatric patients that had encounters with the police quadrupled in the same period.
This is something to think about, given the fact that our own Mental Health Foundation has about 500 clients under its care at the moment. This does not mean that there are “only” 500 people with psychiatric disorders on our island – it could be many more; we just don’t know.
But the trend in Amsterdam, and data collected elsewhere, all point in the same direction. Increasingly people suffer from psychiatric disorders. That gets them in all sorts of trouble, if they do not receive proper care.
Van der Post’s thesis also shows that certain groups of immigrants run an above-average risk of being forcibly committed to a psychiatric institution. Especially citizens from Surinamese descent and immigrants with roots in sub-Saharan Africa belong to this group. People who live alone also run this higher risk.
Obviously, chances that somebody who has been committed before will end up in a psychiatric hospital again are high. The majority of this group is dissatisfied with the forced admission and it is also less satisfied with the care it received, compared to patients who have not been committed before.
Van der post examined 4,600 crisis consultations at Urgent Psychiatry Amsterdam and the Urgent Treatment Team Center Old-West. He monitored 252 patients after their crisis consultation and interviewed them three times over a two-year period.
Increased problems with people suffering from a psychiatric disorder are also increasingly visible in the streets of large cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Homeless people with irrational behavior are mostly considered as a nuisance, or even as a threat, while they obviously need help and medical care.
In St. Maarten psychiatric disorders also take their toll on society. We only have to refer to Curtley Allison Richards and Sherwan Roberts, the two men who were sentenced to life imprisonment in December for three murders, a gang-rape, ill-treatment and violent robberies, to know that psychiatric disorders are a concern for all citizens.
In that sense it is the government’s task to take appropriate measures and to provide adequate facilities for care and relief. We are realistic enough to know that such facilities would not have prevented Roberts and Richards from committing their heinous crimes. But there are many more people around like them, and we cannot afford to do nothing until the next horrible crime is staring us in the face. That’s why the research by Louk van der Post, even though he did this in a faraway country, should not go unnoticed here.

Did you like this? Share it:
Opinion: Urgent admissions by

Comments are closed.