Healing the mind | February 14, 2014 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Cover Story - February 14, 2014

Healing the mind

County services aim to help people with mental illness live independently

by Sue Dremann

When Donald Ray Williams, in the grip of a psychotic episode, torched the University Avenue Walgreens in Palo Alto on July 1, 2007, the act crowned a long criminal history involving mental illness and psychosis, according to federal court records.

This story contains 2205 words.

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Staff Writer Sue Dremann can be emailed at sdremann@paweekly.com.


Posted by randy albin, a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 14, 2014 at 11:13 am

are you claiming that on university avenue in downtown that there aren't mentally ill derelicts? be very careful when labeling someone as mentally challenged. this is a bonanza for psychiatry. if there's money to be made from some illness, there are plenty who will cash in. think this through, please

Posted by hotep, a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 14, 2014 at 3:17 pm

what a way to start article on ''mental illness''. now you think everyone who's different in any way is going to be like mr.williams ! no wonder why many like ms. bush are reluctant to ''seek help''! you act like everyone is a ''psychotic'' mad person. no one would wan't to come within a mile of people who might think you need to be caged and drugged! that has happened to people who merely had stress due to spousal abuse and the like. the abuser wasnt druggeed but the abused woman or man was.this article spurs more and more mistrust of ''mental health'' authorities. non violent people have been drugged .people and animals instinctively know when something is dangerous. demonizing people and making it look like mr.williams is an example of ''mental illness'' you start with this extreme case making people fear. no one will seek your kind of ''help''. they rather die in street than locked up or coerced. again, mr. williams does not represent all people you think have ''mental''problem. amazing ignorance and callousness of the editorial paloaltoonline.

Posted by concerned taxpayer, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 14, 2014 at 3:30 pm

"In fiscal year 2011-12, Stanford Hospital admitted 641 patients with psychoses. In 2012, the average length of stay was 12 days, at a cost of nearly $94,000 or about $7,750 per day, according to a study by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development."
Can someone explain why it costs/taxpayers are charged approx. $7,750 per day for this at Stanford?? I simply think this can't reflect real costs. Audit, anyone? I am all in favor of comprehensive mental health care services, but this sounds like a racket.

Posted by Guido, a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Feb 15, 2014 at 6:04 pm

This is why insurance companies only pay 25-50% of psychiatric expenses! Also why so few are able to get help.


Posted by Do more, a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 15, 2014 at 11:45 pm

Thanks Sue and Palo Alto Weekly! Very informative piece. The article somehow gives a bit of the impression that (severe) mental illness was associated with drug abuse, homelessness, and criminality, more than with a physical sickness. Not sure that image would be very helpful to people with mental illness...

Just did some googling and various sources claim that up to 25% of US adult populations suffer from mental disorders. I would think a more important problem is how to prevent the people with minor or medium degree of disorder from ending up in the streets or prison.

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