State Capitol News
8:59 am
Thu January 9, 2014

State Mental Health Services Bolstered by Brewer’s Personal Experience

The deal inked Wednesday between Gov. Jan Brewer and mental health advocates spelling out the additional services the state must provide for the seriously mentally ill is more than an academic exercise for her. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer explains.

Gov. Jan Brewer provides details Wednesday of the deal reached to finally settle the 33-year-old lawsuit charging the state is not meeting its legal obligations to provide care for the seriously mentally ill.
Gov. Jan Brewer provides details Wednesday of the deal reached to finally settle the 33-year-old lawsuit charging the state is not meeting its legal obligations to provide care for the seriously mentally ill.
Credit Capitol Media Services photo by Howard Fischer

The deal inked Wednesday between Gov. Jan Brewer and mental health advocates spelling out the additional services the state must provide for the seriously mentally ill is more than an academic exercise for her. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer explains.

The governor has more than a passing knowledge of the issue. One of her sons is mentally ill. Brewer said that has given her a unique insight.

“I’d be more aware of what families are dealing with and the ups and the downs of life with these people, with their illnesses,” Brewer said.

And, the governor said she has personally seen what most have only read or heard about — and not always accurately.

“You know, there’s been so much written about the chronically mentally ill or the seriously mentally ill that is somewhat glamorized or exaggerated in movies or in books and stuff like that, that people can’t really get their hands around it unless they're faced with it,” she said.

Brewer said her own experience shows her that, normally, those with mental health problems can function at a pretty high level.

“And then they spin down and decompensate and you have to bring them back up,” Brewer said.

And that, she said, is what makes the need for services that this deal will provide so critical.