The Civitas Institute has written extensively about the problem of untreated severe mental illness in North Carolina. But what is severe mental illness? We sat down with Elizabeth Lynn Gupton (MS, LPC), a therapist with more than 20 years of experience in mental health.
Gupton explained the difficulties of treating schizophrenia: “When a person has schizophrenia, it’s very insidious and it’s difficult to treat because your brain tells you you don’t have it sometimes. It says everybody else has the problem.”
As a mental health professional, Gupton witnessed the transition from county-managed mental health services to managed “community care” in 2001. She says the reforms have been harmful for people with severe mental illness: “I’m saddened. And I’m embarrassed that I’m a provider. I was meant to work at a local mental health center, and I was meant to have the same clients for a long time, and I was meant to make sure that no harm comes to them, and there’s not a setting that I can do that in anymore.”
Stay tuned to Civitas to learn more about addressing the gaps in our mental health system.