Adam - Amanda Mental Health Rehabilitation Center
In 2010, Adam Knapp, a 30-year old man living with schizophrenia and an avid outdoorsman, drove into oncoming traffic, ending his life and taking the life of another. Just eighteen days before, he had attempted suicide and filtered in and out of three different Ohio hospitals. When leaving the last hospital, his parents described him as symptomatic, yet he was released anyway.
Amanda Baker was a fervid mental health advocate who testified for Senate Bill 43, which gave judges the ability to order outpatient treatment for people with mental illnesses. This cause hit close to home for her and her family. She struggled with depression and lost her life to suicide at age 26 when she walked in front of a semi-tractor just days after leaving the hospital.
In both cases, the loving and supportive families of these young people tried desperately to get them help. Unfortunately, the mental health system failed them.
Hospital stays are often too short to properly stabilize people and prepare them for life outside a secure hospital environment. With many other major hospitalizations, patients are sent to a rehabilitation facility after discharge to recuperate and rebuild strength. This isn’t the case with mental illness. Patients are often sent home alone, dropped at a homeless shelter or released to a family member ill-equipped to offer the needed rehabilitation services.
As the deaths of Adam and Amanda illustrate, the consequences of inadequate treatment can be tragic. Many people discharged end up back in the hospital, in prison, homeless, or dead due to the lack of community supports. The suicide rate in adults with mental disorders within the first ninety days after discharge is over fourteen times higher than the average rate of suicide in the United States.
The fact of the matter is that there simply are not enough mental health resources available upon discharge to care for this vulnerable group.
The deaths of these two people are tragic, but we can help prevent future tragedies by working to change the mental health system little by little.
In honor of these two individuals who lost their battles with mental illness, NAMI Ohio is excited to share a new approach to this crisis. The Adam-Amanda Mental Health Rehabilitation Center in Athens, Ohio will be a pilot facility and the first of its kind. It provides a place for people with severe mental illness to go after release from the hospital and stabilize under supervised care before re-entering the community.
Although operating funds have been secured by the Athens-Hocking-Vinton Mental Health Board and the Ohio Department of Mental Health, capital funds are needed to build the facility. It is our hope the Adam and Amanda Rehabilitation Center will become the Ohio and national model for transition from psychiatric rehabilitation to home.
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