Ill Effects

New York legislators recently gave courts the power to force mentally ill patients to undergo treatment or face hospitalization. Feel safer?

Anibal Torres
Age: 62
Resides: Lower East Side
Occupation: Plumbing

Does this new law go too far? No. There are a lot of crazy people out there.

Is mental illness more prevalent now? I think it's the same. People make life harder for themselves sometimes. In New York, you have a lot of opportunities. If you can't get a job here, you can't get a job anywhere.

Have you ever taken medication? Never.

Have you ever needed psychiatric help? Not really. But sometimes my kids do something, drive me crazy. And sometimes economic problems make you crazy, too.


Phillip Jordan
Age: 56
Resides: East Village
Occupation: Librarian-researcher

Does this new law go too far? The law shouldn't interfere in matters of medicine. The whole treatment thing itself is a bind. There's very little evidence that the medications really work.

Is mental illness more prevalent now? It's hard to say. People are more out in public. Before, it was more hidden. I guess it was a matter of taking these people out of the asylums, which were inhumane to begin with.

Have you ever taken medication? I was prescribed some antidepressants. They didn't seem to work.

Have you ever needed psychiatric help? Yeah. When I was going through a depression I was seeing this psychiatrist. He committed suicide. You can imagine how that made me feel.


Abraham Pierre
Age: 21
Resides: Flatbush, Brooklyn
Occupation: Consumer banker

Does this new law go too far? The legislation is going in the right direction. Many lives are in danger from people who don't get treatment.

Is mental illness more prevalent now? Definitely. The times are getting worse. It's a lot more expensive to live in this city.

Have you ever taken medication? No.

Have you ever needed psychiatric help? No. The only thing that drives me crazy is sometimes at work. But it's nothing serious.


Lori Glover
Age: 24
Resides: Sutton
Occupation: Advertising

Does this new law go too far? It's hard, if these people aren't being completely supervised.

Is mental illness more prevalent now? I want to say yes. Look at this world we live in. The standard of living has changed so much.

Have you ever taken medication? No.

Have you ever needed psychiatric help? Needed someone to talk to. That's it. Nothing serious.


Kathleen Waller
Age: 37
Resides: Huntington, Long Island
Occupation: Personal assistant

Does this new law go too far? I totally think it's a good law. Just for the sheer fact that if they don't get treatment, people could get killed.

Is mental illness more prevalent now? Yeah. Sitting on the subway watching everyone talking to themselves. They're having full conversations, scaring the nuns away.

Have you ever taken medication? No.

Have you ever needed psychiatric help? No. I get depressions. I'm in one now. I'm not at work now. I'm taking a mental health day. Not a sick day. I just went to my friend's funeral.


Aminah Mark
Age: 28
Resides: Flatbush
Occupation: Computer work

Does this new law go too far? It's a good law. A lot of innocent people are getting hurt. These people are not being responsible enough on their own. Somebody needs to make sure they're getting treatment.

Is mental illness more prevalent now? Yes. Especially approaching the new millennium.

Have you ever taken medication? Yes. I used to get a lot of migraines. I always remembered to take it. It's not hard.

Have you ever needed psychiatric help? Yes. I got some counseling. We could all use it. I also have God and friends.


Cristina Sannia
Age: 46
Resides: Prospect Park, Brooklyn
Occupation: Holistic practitioner

Does this new law go too far? I think it's fine. The other people have to be safe.

Is mental illness more prevalent now? No. You just see more of them on the streets now.

Have you ever taken medication? Sometimes I'd take a Valium or something. Now I just use holistic medicine.

Have you ever needed psychiatric help? Yes. I wasn't crazy. Neurotic maybe. It wasn't a psychosis. So I went to a psychiatrist, talked things out. I got better.

 
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