Smart Talk Friday: Woman living with mental illness suffers in jail; HS sports plan comeback from shutdown

Last year, WITF’s Transforming Health reporter Brett Sholtis told the story of then 27-year-old Kimberly Stringer — a Bucks County woman who had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder in high school, but was refusing to take medication or see a therapist — claiming she wasn’t mentally ill.  Kim lived a metal shed even though she had an apartment, drank water from streams rather than from the tap or a bottle and scoured garbage dumps collecting items in a shopping cart. Brett’s story provided details on Kim’s parents’ numerous efforts to get treatment for their daughter even if it mean having her committed to a treatment facility involuntarily.

Last week, Brett began receiving collect phone calls from inmates at the Bucks County Jail — telling him that Kimberly has been confined to a bare cell, “completely naked,” with only a soiled blanket and a smock given to patients who are on suicide watch, which she rarely wears.

She urinates and defecates on the floor and on herself.

She has gone without a mattress at times and has no books or possessions.

She is covered with bruises, and at times has hit her head or punched herself.

She hasn’t had a shower in weeks.

After Brett updated Kim’s struggles this week, she was transferred to a hospital for treatment.

Kimberly Stringer’s experiences provide a sad example of what happens when someone living with mental illness goes to jail instead and the difficulty of getting treatment for someone who doesn’t want it.

Transforming Health’s Brett Sholtis appears on Friday’s Smart Talk.

Also, the Wolf Administration released guidelines last week for high school and youth sports, along with other outdoor activities to resume from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Joining us on Friday’s Smart Talk to provide details are Melissa Nash Mertz, Associate Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA), Jeremy Flores, Director of Athletics for the Chambersburg School District, and Justin Rose, Associate Executive Director of the Carlisle Family YMCA, who will address how their YMCA is preparing for summer camps, and hosting current day camps under the Pennsylvania guidance.