The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Capitalist Neglect of Mental Healthcare:
A Mom and Two Children Froze to Death

Feb 6, 2023

In the richest country in the world, the warmest, most welcoming, and non-demeaning mental health facilities could exist. The money is there to nurture a struggling parent having a mental health crisis. Children could stay close, getting lots of extra help and attention. But what calls itself a mental health system in Michigan—and the rest of the country—is the stuff of nightmares, not dreams.

News reports described a 35-year-old mom, Monica Cannady, seen walking outdoors in freezing cold weather in Pontiac, Michigan on January 13. With her were her 10-year-old daughter, a 9-year-old son, and a 3-year-old son, all without warm coats.

Earlier in the day, Monica had fled her own apartment after an argument with a family member trying to help her. Later she fled a hospital emergency room, seemingly uncomfortable with intensive questioning by police. That night, the mother and her three children laid down to sleep in a vacant field in the bitter cold.

Monica and her two youngest sons died of hypothermia. Her daughter survived, went for help, and was hospitalized.

Childhood friends told reporters they were shocked. Monica had been a capable young woman. What happened? Why was she in a mental health crisis?

A reporter at the Detroit News learned that Monica’s domestic partner—the father of her 3 children—was brutally murdered one year ago. Not long after the one-year anniversary of his death, Monica fell into a mental health emergency. The jury trial of the alleged killer of her companion was scheduled to start the very week she lost all ability to cope.

Family told investigators that Monica “was exhibiting signs of paranoia and believed someone was trying to kill her, and that everyone around her was involved.”

Whatever the causes, the mental health crisis on full display here would have been treatable—and these deaths preventable—if the comprehensive mental health care system that all humans deserve, existed for ordinary working people!

Instead of a well-organized, well-funded free mental health care system with walk-in offices and trusted professionals in every neighborhood, Michigan has a jigsaw puzzle system—with most of the pieces missing!

In this system, it is nearly impossible for most people to find any mental health services, and certainly not at the moment they most need it.

The responsibility for these tragic deaths lies at the feet of a capitalist system—organized to maximize the wealth of a few—destabilizing life for everyone else.