During the three months in which my father cycled through the system, he racked up five emergency room visits, four arrests, four court appearances, three trips to PESS and too many police confrontations to remember. He spent 25 (nonconsecutive) days in a psychiatric hospital and 40 in a county jail. The medical expenses alone — not including the police hours, jail time or court costs — ran upward of $250,000. These were costly months indeed — to the institutions forced to deal with him and, in more ways than one, to our family.
—In this week’s NYT Magazine cover story, Jeneen Interlandi shares her family’s experience with about the incredibly frustrating laws one encounters when trying to help loved ones with mental illness. (Such as: It’s nearly impossible to get someone committed, but a little easier to get them sent to jail.)