Tuesday, March 6

The Men in White at your doorstep: forced hospitalization for the poor

Yesterday 2 very big "men in white" arrived at Tamy's doorstep to take her mother away to the local "cuckoo bin".
Some time ago i wrote about Tamy, a young girl from an extremely poor family.
Her mother has become so depressed by now, that she went to see a psychiatrist. She's so distressed by her poverty and by the weekly return of the goons from the hotza'a lapoel (the repossessors of the Tel Aviv municipality) that she has problems falling asleep and yes, she does also talk about suicide.
She hoped to receive a mild anti-depressant and more than that, a place to talk, to cry, an ear that would listen, a professional shoulder to cry on, so to speak.

After talking for about half an hour, the psychiatrist suggested hospitalization. Tamy's mum wouldn't hear of it. Yes, she wants therapy, and she wants medicine as well, she does think a day clinic would help her and said she would be wiling to attend. She actually did so in the past and found the daily support sessions, group meetings and individual therapy etc. to be helpful. The psychiatrist insisted and called guards and police. Tamy's mum said she was not interested and left for home.

A knock on the door (usually indicating yet another visit from the municipal gorilla squad, although the house is almost empty by now) started a procedure by the end of which Tamy's mum found herself in the local mental hospital. Against her will.

Tamy's mum, who was a battered wife, has a lot of problems. Being mentally ill is NOT one of them. She is poor and desperate. If they really want to help her, they should stop the weekly gorilla harassment, the lack of food, the fear of being evicted, the continued horror she's living in. All that's needed is a little humanity on the side of the municipality, the bank and the house owner. Social security payment on which she can survive. It is THAT simple.

Today young Tamy will be going to arrange legal aid for her mum. 18 Year old girls should be having fun, but it's a very long time ago since Tamy had any fun.


لبّيكَ يا رسول الله said...

That's really sad.
The visits by the municipality people remind me of a similar situation here in Lebanon where poor people live in constant fear of eviction, but only this time it is actually done by the private/hired goons of Hariri and his brutal economic machine. The properties are actually acquired by force, even though they actually are privately OWNED by these poor families which have nevertheless refused to sell their houses. In fact there is a big 'eviction' business in some parts of Lebanon, in which the Saudis are the major players.
The families that refused to move out of their apartments/houses actually had the apartment destroyed on top of their heads, and entire families, including newborn children have been killed that way.

Of course in some areas, like where I used to live, where it is mostly Hezb Allah supporters and members, they don't dare to do these things.

J.P. said...

There is something like a food bank in Jaffa?

Anonymous said...

foodbanks are to poverty what a plaster is to cancer

J.P. said...

In what kind of country would they do such a thing, the plaster I mean.

yudit said...

Countries in which there is no national health system, e.g. the USA in which there are large numbers of people who do not have health insurance or insufficient health insurance.
In Israel the system is becoming more and more "privatised" and already here many people, who do not have sufficient money, receive less good medicine, because the more advanced medicine is not in the "basket"

ee said...

I can only imagine been hospitalised against my will...I'd probably try to off myself in the ward! (Maybe I've seen too many movies on the subject, though).
There is actually a Tapuz forum on the subject, including the subject of forced hospitalisation.

"די לכפייה הפסיכיאטרית"
is its name.

J.P. said...

EE, what is the fun of watching hospital movies, or do your ancestors come from Transylvania.

yudit said...

the awful thing is that some people in Israel are hospitalized against their will; presumably "for their own good".

Tamy's mum DID talk about suicide. she wanted to take her own life BECAUSE she's poor, has no way of paying the bills and is tried of the continued chase by the repossession goons (aka the hotza'a lapoel, especially those of the municipality)

Tamy's mum never "spent too much on trinkets", she became dead poor due to circumstances beyond her control.
The social security system could have saved her, but didn't.
So she became even poorer.

It's poverty, not mental disease, that has cause her problems.
And poverty is a matter of social justice and human rights.

ee said...

Even if she has become mentally unbalanced, which wouldn't be difficult after what she went through at the hands of the authorities, it's taking the easy (but expensive - ironically enough) way out by sticking her away in hospital.
Professionals now realise that the way to health is re-integration into community life. Hospitalisation is just good for medical/psychotropic treatment, and when there's no choice: the person is dangerous to others or to his- or herself.

J.P. said...
EE, what is the fun of watching hospital movies, or do your ancestors come from Transylvania.

- Nothing so exotic, I'm afraid.
My sister works in a therapeutic field, so I'm interested and slightly informed.
btw, not all movies are supposed to be fun...