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KBSI Perspective
A few years ago, one of my high school classmates called me about an upcoming 60 minutes segment about a lady named Nancy who we knew in school.  Nancy became a bag lady travelling between New York City and Washington DC.  This is not her actual picture but it is what she did look like on 60 minutes.  What made Nancy special was she hung around condos in the wealthy sections of Manhattan and talked like she was extremely educated while panhandling.  In fact, she was.  Nancy had a bachelors and master’s degree.   60 Minutes focused in on her mental state.  She was a schizophrenic.  Nancy had a child and was, at one time was married to a prosecutor.  Because she was well versed on most subjects, it was difficult to keep her in an institution.  Her mother was interviewed about her disease and how troubling it was that she could get no help, basically because Nancy didn’t want any.  She could pass any test and when she wanted to be act normal she could.  Nancy, who was beautiful at 16, believed the government had planted microphones in the fillings in her teeth and listened to her every word.  For that reason, she actually pulled out her own teeth.  Police departments all over the country are inundated with people with mental health problems.  In Chicago, about 30% of the inmates are mentally ill.  In the U.S. about 10 million are seriously ill.  Are we just more aware of mental illness or is there a growing epidemic?  I don’t know but something is wrong. Growing Mental Illness Epidemic


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