The institutionalization of people with mental health disabilities surfaces time and again as people with these disabilities are demonized for political gain. The dignity and freedom of people with mental health disabilities are treated as acceptable sacrifices in public health debate, even while OUR health is threatened by deplorable conditions in these institutions.
Saint Elizabeths Hospital, D.C.’s only public psychiatric hospital, has been operating without running water since the end of September. For over a week, and with no resolution forthcoming, “patients and staff should not wash their hands, shower, wash clothing, or drink from the water fountains.”
The people living in Saint Elizabeths are living a public health crisis. Their hygiene needs are being met with wet wipes and hand sanitizer. Bedding, clothing, and towels cannot be washed at the facilities.
Isolating people with disabilities in cages under deplorable conditions is NOT Care or Treatment!
17 days without usable running water is too long. National ADAPT calls on the Department of Behavioral Health for the District of Columbia to address this health issue immediately.
Further, National ADAPT demands that the Department of Behavioral Health commit to real community choices, services, and supports, not just fixing the cages they use to lock our people away.
Let our voices be heard! Call Phyllis Jones at the Department of Behavioral Health at 202.631.3077. Tell her:
FREE OUR PEOPLE!
COMMUNITY FOR ALL!