Letters to the Editor

Stigma attacked

November 19, 2010


To the editor:

On Nov. 2, Kansas voters made history when they overwhelmingly approved Amendment No. 2, changing the state constitution to guarantee that the Legislature will never have the authority to prevent someone with a mental illness from voting.

But Amendment No. 2 did more than protect the voting rights of Kansans with mental illness. It chipped away at the stigma that is too often associated with mental illness and that often creates a barrier for those who need treatment.

Their support signaled that Kansas has come a long way in its perception of mental illness in the last 35 years. No longer is Kansas a place where thousands of residents with mental illness are institutionalized. No longer is it a place where people with mental illness are viewed strictly as “incompetent” or incapable of living independent lives. And no longer is it a place where the stigma against people with mental illness is sanctioned by law. For this, the voters of Kansas deserve our sincere gratitude. Thank you!

Given this positive shift in public attitudes, we are now positioned to make the necessary investments in our public mental health system that will ensure that the one in four persons who experience a mental health disorder in any given year and the one in 17 persons who live with a serious illness, like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression or post traumatic stress, will be able to get the treatment they need to live life fully and remain contributing members of our community.


notajayhawk 7 years, 4 months ago

"Kansas voters made history when they overwhelmingly approved Amendment No. 2, changing the state constitution to guarantee that the Legislature will never have the authority to prevent someone with a mental illness from voting."

I hate to point out the obvious, but perhaps the word "never" is a bit optimistic, when one considers that you're celebrating a change to the state Constitution by the voters!

mr_right_wing 7 years, 4 months ago

This is "potentially" a setback for liberals if you think about it.

I do not support gay "marriage" or extra rights for homosexuals. I believe a crime is a crime (...is a crime) I reject "hate crime" Some ultra-liberals would label that 'hate speech" (even though I never said anything negative about the group, I simply do not support/believe either) if I engage in 'hate speech' maybe there is something wrong with me mentally. If anyone goes against political correctness, could something be wrong with them mentally as well? What about the 'Tea Party' folks? Their rallies are rather zealous...could there be some mental illness there? Should all of them be allowed to vote?

You missed out on your opportunity to silence the opposition.

Liberty275 7 years, 4 months ago

The concept of "hate" crimes or "hate" speech are merely kneejerk reactions and generally as stupid as most kneejerk reactions. Thanks to the constitution we aren't subject to hate speech laws.

Maddy Griffin 7 years, 4 months ago

I wasn't aware that homosexuals were looking to gain "extra rights".

meggers 7 years, 3 months ago

Show me a liberal that would define anything you said in that post as "hate speech".

Ignorant, convoluted, and patently absurd- yes. Hate speech- no.

Rick Cagan 7 years, 4 months ago

You are correct. We have not followed with adequate community-based care which is why we need to invest more in treatment. Two-thirds of adults with serious mental illness are not getting treatment. This is also the case for more than 50% of children with serious emotional disorders. In every county in America, ,the county jail is the largest inpatient facility for individuals living with a serious mental illness.

notajayhawk 7 years, 4 months ago

It's that double-edged sword. Unfortunately, the stigma has been rendered moot in the view of many people. They figure if the mentally ill don't need to be institutionalized, they don't need any assistance at all.

Rick Cagan 7 years, 4 months ago

The fact remains that individuals with serious mental illness have a life expectancy 25 years less than the general population. Community-based treatment is essential and life-saving.

Beth Ann Bittlingmayer 7 years, 4 months ago

Community based treatment is obviously essentially when there are no institutions in place. Whether it saves lives is questionable. There are way too many persons with serious mental illness who need a Menninger type facility where they can live for an extended period of time until they are well enough to resume life in the community. The fact that no such place exists is killing many people.

mr_right_wing 7 years, 4 months ago

So if someone suffers from multiple personalities (or whatever the vogue name for the moment is) does each personality get one vote? What if you have a few democrats, then a few republicans, and maybe even a reform party or unaffiliated in you??

Only allowing one person per body to vote could probably be considered discrimination and/or oppression..

George_Braziller 7 years, 4 months ago

You already know that someone who has multiple personalities (which is extremely rare) only gets one vote. Why are you even posting such as stupid rhetorical question?

think_about_it 7 years, 4 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

BigPrune 7 years, 4 months ago

Amendment 2 guaranteed that the majority of Lawrence would never be prevented from voting since they are mentally ill. That's a pretty darn generous gift to Shutter Island http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shutter_Island_(film) from the sea of sanity that surrounds us.

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