Today's guest on Parent Choices for Struggling Teens, was Dr. Ross Ellenhorn, one of the founders of Prakash Ellenhorn- a wraparound service for those with severe psychiatric illnesses. His main emphasis for the past two decades has been to work with individuals with psychological symptom's, to find the psychological and more importantly the social means for them to remain outside of an institutional setting.
"When a patient is placed into a psychiatric setting for the first time, they will often feel scared or bad, but when a patient with mental illness is placed into a facility numerous times, this hospitalization itself can have a very serious side effect." A downward spiral occurs in which that person begins to give up. They give up on hope and their dreams and there is a feeling of loss of friends and family and even of fitting into this world. Psychosocial trauma is the phrase that has been coined to describe this. These people have been removed from their life, their work and their social contacts and frequently stigmatized. Hospitalization can cause two important social factors, one is isolation and the other is stress. "These people feel as if they have lost their place in life" Dr. Ellenhorn concluded.
He explained there is a serious misunderstanding in our society that people with mental illness are violent. The media especially assumes this with the number of 'mass shootings' that are occurring across the country. They then lead the discussion to conclude that society needs more hospital beds and stricter gun laws. Hospitalization would not have prevented these shooting from happening and actually, they would have felt even more of an outsider by being hospitalized. If they had been hospitalized, it is likely they would have gotten out of the hospital and would have been even more dangerous. "But- what if they had someone in the community to help them when they are discharged from a hospitalization, to care about them and was there for them? Where are the Rabbi's, the minister's and Priest's…the coaches, the extended families? Look at our communities, they are crumbling. There is no sense of belonging in our country. What has happened to the world that surrounds our children? There is a loss of identity in our communities."
He asserted we need more resources for mental health, in more communities, so patients are not being removed from their own communities. Mental health stigma's need to be fought against, we need to help people with mental illnesses integrate into our towns. They need to feel necessary. And rather than talk about it, we need to take action. "These people have special gifts to contribute to the world."
Lon Woodbury is the owner/founder of Woodbury Reports, Inc. and www.strugglingteens.com. He has worked with families and struggling teens since 1984 and is the host of Parent Choices for Struggling Teens and The Woodbury Reports.
Dr. Ross Ellenhorn, PhD is a graduate of the UCLA School of Social Welfare and the first person to receive a joint PhD from the prestigious Florence Heller School for Social Welfare Policy and Management and the Department of Sociology at Brandeis University. He is the Co-Founder of Prakas Ellenhorn, a wrap-around service in Massachusetts to provide services for those suffering serious psychiatric symptoms outside institutions.
If you know somebody (including yourself) who would make a good guest on our show and might be interested contact Lon at, email@example.com or call, 208-267-5550.
We are excited to announce that we have several openings for on-air sponsorship during The Woodbury Report shows on K4HD.com Tuesdays, and on our other radio show on Mondays, LATalkRadio.com Parent Choices for Struggling Teens. If you are interested in reserving some air time to promote your school, program or services, contact Kristie Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 208-267-5550 or Lon at 208-267-7717.