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Letters to the Editor

Stigma attacked

November 19, 2010

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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.

Comments

BigPrune 3 years, 5 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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Edward Coan 3 years, 5 months ago

Good letter for those who believe in equal rights like I hope most do.

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think_about_it 3 years, 5 months ago

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mr_right_wing 3 years, 5 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..

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CorkyHundley 3 years, 5 months ago

If you don't know what you are doing go vote. It's only fair. Besides, it makes me feel better to know that my vote counts.

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i_tching 3 years, 5 months ago

By passing this Kansans are assuring Republicans their right to vote.

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LJ Whirled 3 years, 5 months ago

While not all, or even most, of the persons who could be considered mentally ill are “incompetent” or incapable of living independent lives, all the time ..... some ARE incompetent and incapable of living independent lives, at least most of the time .... and many ARE, to some varying degree and for some varying periods of time as their illness may ebb and flow. This I know from some up-close-and-personal experience.

Sure, we have emptied the asylums, but have we followed that with adequate care in our communities? Hell no, we haven't.

I agree that we are chipping away at perceptions, but we are far from facing what mental illness really is, who and how many struggle with it, and what will be required if we are to deal with it effectively in our communities.

It's a bit early to celebrate, IMHO.

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mr_right_wing 3 years, 5 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.

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notajayhawk 3 years, 5 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!

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