Mental health workers fight for change – Raleigh News & Observer

Tags: news | politics | state
BUTNER — Dozens of workers tasked with caring for the state’s severely mentally ill residents came together in a church basement Saturday to organize against what they say are low pay and poor working conditions that make their jobs increasingly difficult.

The workers complained about a “zero tolerance” policy that Gov. Bev Perdue imposed nearly two years ago to try to rid the mental health system of abuse and neglect that had been exposed by media reports.

Such a policy, workers said Saturday, is having an unintended effect. Many health care technicians and others who routinely encounter agitated patients worry about losing their jobs if they touch someone in need of restraint. Because of that, caregivers increasingly opt to leave disquieted charges vulnerable to injuring themselves or others.

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