A nurse couldn’t ascertain what caused the scratches on the patient’s hip — the adults restraining him from cutting himself with a shard of glass, or the shard itself. On another day, a young woman attacked one of her peers for “flipping her off” and “calling her a b****.” When a staff member inter­vened, she punched him with her fist and he “pushed” her back and “cut her head.” These and other anec­dotes fill the pages of the state of Michigan’s special inves­ti­gation reports about The Manor in Jonesville, which just announced its closing due to license revo­cation.

The sobering solution to these alle­ga­tions might be more involvement from the state gov­ernment. Con­ser­v­a­tives com­plain about licensing reg­u­la­tions and red tape, but without such things, perhaps no one would have noticed the charges of injustice at The Manor. The young adults will go through a state-spon­sored relo­cation process because of the private entity’s apparent failure to adhere to reg­u­la­tions.

The Hillsdale area may not have the resources in money and staff training to operate the facility properly. But what does that mean for the emo­tionally dis­turbed youth of our town?

Recent tragedies have led to public figures calling for a “national con­ver­sation about mental health,” and while that’s ambiguous, The Manor’s sit­u­ation begins that con­ver­sation in our com­munity. How do we as a town ensure these young adults receive healthy treatment? While we believe fam­ilies and com­mu­nities should carry respon­si­bility for their well-being, in our gen­er­ation that isn’t always an option. Hillsdale College stu­dents have poured hours into The Manor, but they can’t right these wrongs.

Small cities have long since lost their capacity to care for the emo­tionally ill among them. Con­ser­v­a­tives and com­mu­nities alike will have to become more serious about what few and small solu­tions remain.