At the end of April when I wrote about my son’s mental illness he had been in and out of the Butte County Psychiatric Health Facility (The Puff) four times since October. Make that five times.
In June he was at home and had been steadily improving for three weeks or so. The long-acting drug he finally consented to seemed to be helping. He was a lot more present and responsive to his surroundings, including people. I started to think he might win his conservatorship trial at the end of July and get to stay out of the county’s custody.
He refused to get his next monthly injection or talk to anyone from Butte County, though, even when they came to him, and so the bureaucracy stumbled into action. What I thought would be a meeting with his Public Guardian turned out to be an ambush with four or five people from the county and four Chico police.
That he had been behaving reasonably and said he felt better didn’t mean squat. Because he’s technically an adult, I have no clout. For Butte County, the prescribed drug was the mandatory minimum— take it voluntarily or they’ll make you take it.
The county people arrived sporadically and milled around in the street and our front yard until the straggler showed up. Meanwhile the police and people from Butte County tried to persuade him to accept the injection. So did I. The nurse was right there with the stuff. He could do it and all those other people would go away, and he could stay at home, but he wasn’t having any of it.
Since he wouldn’t agree to be injected, my son was eventually handcuffed and taken away, restrained, and given Invega Sustenna, a popular monthly injectable.
He’s back at home now, and because I’m willing to provide him with the necessities of life, as long as he stays on his drug he can stay out of custody, and Butte County is dropping its conservatorship effort. Whew, maybe.
At the July meeting of the Butte County Behavioral Health Advisory Board several people, including Board members, spoke out against renewing the contract of the California Forensic Medical Group, the corporation paid to deal with mental health issues at the Butte County Jail. A mentally and physically ill inmate died recently in flaky circumstances, and I look forward to hearing CFMG’s story.
I was elected to the Board at the July meeting. I know I’ve said more than once that I’m through with boards and had even arranged for a buddy of mine to stage an intervention if I start making any Board noises, but this is important.
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