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Letters to the Editor

Mental health advocacy

May 12, 2009

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To the editor:

May has been designated Mental Health Month. It gives those of us who advocate for timely, effective treatment in an appropriate setting an opportunity to speak up for those who suffer from these brain disorders/diseases.

There is much good news such as the public’s attitude toward depression. It is now understood as the illness it is and that treatment most often has a positive outcome. It is quite a different story for people suffering from severe brain disorders/diseases such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

According to a briefing paper found on the Treatment Advocacy Center Web site:

l “1/2 of all individuals with severe mental illness have received no treatment for their illness in the previous 12 months.”

l “…there are estimated to be approximately 4 million people affected by these diseases in the United States.”

l “In terms of numbers, this means that approximately 2 million individuals with schizophrenia and manic-depression (bipolar disorder) are receiving no treatment for their illness at any given time.”

We are told one in four of us have a mental illness, but hope is in the air. Treatment is available and treatment works! A better quality of life awaits those who seek and accept help. If we all work together and advocate for timely, effective treatment in appropriate settings for these brain disorders we call mental illness, it will happen sooner rather than later.

Comments

think_about_it 4 years, 11 months ago

Here's an idea.

Why don't you go to med school for say 7-10 years and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars so you can open your own free clinic?

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think_about_it 4 years, 11 months ago

Yeah cheesehead. The gall of those people actually expecting to get paid for providing a service. Greedy bastards!!

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Andrew Stahmer 4 years, 11 months ago

This won't be popular...but that never stops me. I do believe in depression (in an actual chemical imbalance in the brain); but it is nowhere near wide spread as it is medicated! You give HALF the people on anti-depressants a placebo and they'd report no change. Depression (even in our day) isn't wide spread; but it is BIG $$$!!

(..and of course a side effect of some anti-depressants is suicide!)

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Christine Anderson 4 years, 11 months ago

Well thought out letter. Bert Nash is the only place in Lawrence for those who are not independently wealthy to seek help. My little boy recently got his state insurance back. There is an outstanding balance, from when he was uninsured. Just got a call from his therapist today, informing me that unless the back amount was paid off, my child would no longer be seen "unless he was in crisis". The definition of "mental health crisis" can be rather subjective, depending on who is deciding if it IS a crisis. And apparently, it also depends on money. Always the bottom line in American healthcare; money. I never thought I'd see the day when Bert Nash would start acting like any other bill collector. Sad. Very sad. This means, then, that when a parent has absolutely NOTHING left over after paying rent and utilities to make payments on outstanding balances, there IS no place to go for help. Neat.

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Jim Williamson 4 years, 11 months ago

Wait. You must be confused. There is no psychiatric or psychological care at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. Clearly, there is no mental illness in Lawrence.

At least, that's what most of the community keeps telling me. All is well, nothing to be seen here, move along.

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