Places that treat mental illnesses should be warm, friendly and inviting.

Beth A. Leverance

On a sunny August afternoon, I came home from work to find my 17-year-old son, Aaron, lying on the sofa moaning in pain. That evening we took him to the Emergency Center where a CT scan revealed that he had appendicitis. His appendix had to be removed. The surgery was scheduled right away and thankfully went without a hitch.

The next morning we went back to the hospital to visit her. Knowing which room he was in, we went through the door and took the elevator up to the floor where he was staying. No one stopped us at the entrance of the hospital and asked us who we were with. They never called the floor to get permission to go to his room, and they certainly didn’t ask us to lock up our personal belongings or go through a metal detector before continuing to visit. It seems absurd, doesn’t it, that you have to go through metal detectors to visit your loved one in the hospital?

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Beth A.  Leverance

When Aaron was 15, he became very ill with a severe case of schizophrenia. As a result, he spent much of his life going through various mental health facilities. Every time we visited the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex, we were asked to stop at the front desk and tell them who we came to see. They called the ward where he was staying to get permission. After confirming, we were directed to lock our belongings. Finally, they took a metal rod and checked us back and forth for weapons. This process makes me shake my head in wonder. Was my son in the hospital or was he in jail?


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