Penn Profs: Bring Back Mental Asylums


The mental asylum of 2015. Photo:

A group of bioethicists at the University of Pennsylvania have taken a bold stand in a paper published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association: They say the United States should bring back mental asylums.

Dominic Sisti, director the university’s Scattergood Program for the Applied Ethics of Behavioral Healthcare, along with co-authors Ezekiel Emanuel and Andrea Segal, write that there are a whopping 10 million Americans today with serious mental illness. But there are only 45,000 inpatient psychiatric beds in the country. Today’s per-capita bed count is about what it was in 1850 — 1850! — according to the paper.

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Where Is Christopher Tully?


[Update, 6:30 p.m., January 25th]: A body was found today in the Schuylkill River. Family members confirm that it is that of missing teacher Christopher Tully.

[Original] Christopher Tully has been missing for nine days — nine long, cold days since the beloved teacher and father of three jumped out of a car on City Line Avenue and walked out of his family’s life. According to the website his brother Eddie has set up to coordinate the search efforts for Chris — whose plight has drawn national attention — the last view anyone had of him was at the section of off-ramp “where City Line Ave. meet the exits to Ridge Ave. and Lincoln Drive. He [was] heading toward City Line Ave. back toward the expressway.”

Eddie got choked up this morning when I spoke to him on the phone about Chris’ disappearance. Despite the coverage on social media (#findtully), and on national websites; despite neighbors and friends canvassing so much of the city with flyers; despite the quick and responsive efforts of the Philadelphia Police Department; despite a reward that has climbed over $10,000, Eddie knows there’s a chance that his brother, who was struggling with mental health issues, may be dead.

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Minding Your Mind’s Fourth Annual Blue Gene Gala

Meet the Sixers Player Who Refuses to Take Airplanes

Royce White

This summer, the Sixers’ new GM Sam Hinkie traded for a promising, versatile, fascinating 22-year-old power forward named Royce White. Last season, White played for Houston, where Hinkie used to work. Except, he didn’t really play last season. That’s in part because White suffers from a severe anxiety disorder–including a crippling fear of flying on planes–and wrangled with the Rockets all season about trying to get treatment and health exemptions from the team.

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Guns, PTSD, Mental Illness and a Post-Navy Yard World

As the theories about what set Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis on his homicidal tear pile up, old policy clashes are re-emerging. Gun control advocates are quick to offer assorted “we-told-you-so” arguments, and for good reason. But as fevered as the uproar over guns is the conversation on mental health.

Once details emerged that Alexis had a long post-9/11 history of mental issues, the spigot of outrage flowed. How could a 34-year-old disturbed Navy veteran with a Molotov cocktail of “anger management” and firearms episodes get a security clearance to the facility overseeing Naval operations worldwide? Here in D.C., getting security clearance for a cushy federal gig is like finding gold. You can’t even get one if you have bad credit. So, how did Alexis slip through the cracks?

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Bradford Regional Medical Center to Offer Internet Addiction Treatment Program

Are you a karma junkie? Memes Got You Hooked? Chasing the Youtube dragon endlessly? If so, consider checking into the nation’s very first internet addiction program, running directly out of Bradford’s Regional Medical Center. You too can be free from the tyranny of endless cat pictures.

The program starts September 9 with a 10-day voluntary program aimed at alleviating internet addiction in those of us who take the geek thing a little too far. That alleviation, of course, comes from a whole menu of “digital detox” programs couples with medication, if necessary.

But will it help? Is this really something to worry about? Well …

“Research has found that Internet addicts and drug addicts experience similar withdrawal symptoms, especially when going cold turkey. A 2006 study by Stanford University’s School of Medicine found that nearly one in eight Americans suffers from at least one sign of “problematic Internet use” — such as the inability to stop looking at their phones or computers for an extended period of time.”

Maybe now would be a good time to unplug. [MLMN]

Police Remove Three Children From Feces-Filled Logan Home

Police removed three girls from a Logan neighborhood home that was reportedly filled with feces, trash and other random nasties. Aged 1, 3, and 4, the children removed from the home were found wearing only diapers, with no crib or children’s bedding in sight.

Police initially went to the home, located on the 4800 block of N. Ninth Street, to deliver a domestic violence warrant as the girls’ mother, Lakeeshanaye Overton, 24, had been arrested for attacking her husband, Soyika Eldemine, 25. The couple now is charged with three counts of reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of a child. The children have since been transported to an area hospital, though there has been no word about their condition.

This comes on the heels of last month’s report about a Bustleton home owned by a man in his mid 70s that police found stacked with trash and animal feces. An investigator in that case called it a “house of horrors.” Now, it would appear that Philly has more than one. [NBC]

LOVE Park’s Real Homeless Problem

Last week Philly Mag posted what seemed to be a fairly innocuous question on its Facebook page: “LOVE Park will be getting an upgrade. What would you like to see happen there?” Some answers addressed the question in the way we expected: “Some cool digital features like a virtual tourist center or something on the history behind the LOVE statue.” Or, “More sculptures/art … maybe pieces you can sit on.”

But then there were also responses like this one: “Less half naked bums scratching their asses and feeding the pigeons.”
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