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From: Sandy Boyd
Received: Oct. 2
Oct. 6 to 12 marks Mental Illness Awareness Week, as if one week could begin to suffice for a subject that affects us all every day, year after year.
Of course those of us who have a loved one suffering from schizophrenia or bipolar disorder or other forms of mental illness don’t have the luxury of ignoring the problem the remaining 51 weeks.
Basically we have to deal with bare bones assistance programs. Even with disability insurance and Medicaid, the financial aspects are daunting. And the mental health providers are so severely underfunded that the majority of patients get minimal help, which results in an enormous burden on the family. Sadly, many of the mentally ill have no one to help them at all.
Meanwhile, incidents like Newtown or the Navy Yard serve to remind us that we are sorely negligent in addressing the issues. Also, our prisons have become psychiatric facilities, for which they are ill-prepared. In large cities the homeless situation has strained their budgets to the limits.
Yes, I am sure I’ve stated the obvious. And, yes, there are myriad problems facing our society: unemployment, health insurance, natural disasters ....
Still, I dare ask you to pause long enough to thoughtfully consider the circumstances the mentally ill endure through no fault of their own; to remember that they are not lazy, evil or ignorant but are victims. Just as diabetes, Parkinson’s or rheumatoid arthritis can strike anyone, many of the mentally ill have the additional problem of being struck in their late teens while their emotional maturity is being developed.
Sadly, I don’t have any concrete solutions, but neither have I given up. As a member of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), I will continue to advocate, educate and support its efforts to serve our loved ones and our community. If anyone would like to join us, we meet at 7 p.m. the first Tuesday in Room 217 at First Christian Church. For more information call Dee at 376-0020, Sandy at 378-0571 or Linda at 812-663-6370.
Lastly, if it is your habit, please add it to your prayer list.
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