This morning, the New York Times reported on Trump’s latest brilliant idea: to create more asylums and lock up people with mental illness. Despite the fact that the majority of people with mental illness are no danger to anyone, ideas like this have been gaining traction among some in the wake of the recent Florida school shooting. Illnesses like the one I have, schizophrenia, are stereotyped and maligned on any given day–but more so recently.
If Trump would use his “very smart brain,” he could read into a brief history of people with mental disabilities. We’ve already had sad, cruel and unjust periods of history when people with mental disabilities were locked away and “treated” against their will. The era we are currently in, which is supposed to have learned from this history, is the era of deinstitutionalization–an era in which people with disabilities, including mental ones, are a part of society and not locked away.
Because Florida’s Baker Act Law, the law that allows one to be hospitalized against one’s will, is already so heavily abused, I have already spoken to lawyers about being “put away” prior to Trump’s “new idea.”If you have a mental disability, I encourage you to raise your voice and seek out a lawyer. And I employ organizations like the ACLU to join us in our fight if Trump’s very bad idea gains any traction whatsoever.