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Mental health issues pushed aside locally

Citrus County Chronicle - 1/11/2017

The Chronicle is generous in printing photo opportunities occurring with the 2.5 percent of the population who have the great misfortune in being born seriously lacking in intellectual abilities, often accompanied by physical difficulties as well. There is always an aura about these individuals manifesting "blamelessness and innocence," which of course, is what they are.

Locals have no problem in responding to pleas and requests for financial assistance, for these "innocents." How grateful we can be that the public generously supports the protection and care that is lavished upon them, the hallmark of a humane society.

And, perhaps, these innocents may not have knowledge of not being part of the mainstream of society, thus have no inhibition in being featured in the press.

Then, we have another segment of society, also "blameless and innocent," comprising one out of every five persons in this country. Today another article in our paper appeared regarding the sad state of mental health care in our county.

Many persons can almost function on their own, especially if they can get the medical/psychological help they need, not to mention the social aspect.

How fortunate we are, that due to the foresight of a former NAMI member, we have this incredible spot called "LightHouse," one of the few bright spots in the whole mental health spectrum locally. A local doctor is quoted as saying "Citrus County would rate a C in mental health care," or words to that effect.

I will respectfully disagree, as would many others, I am sure. The whole problem relates to that biblical admonition about "depending on whose ox is gored."

If our legislators were denied immediate assistance for just about any bodily ailment or crisis, we would see action and/or howling all the way from Tallahassee or Washington, D.C.! Or, better still, if one of their kin were in some kind of mental health crisis, and were jailed as a result, Good Gravy, then what would happen?

This letter was brought about by re-reading the article in the December issue of Money magazine, entitled "The High Cost of Coping," which states that many families are bankrupted by trying to obtain treatment for an ill family member: the reluctance of many experts in this field, i.e psychiatrists and psychologists, to accept private insurance, etc. It is a shocking, but oh, so true telling of the state of mental health care in this country.

It is strong, but factual stuff. It should be required reading for anyone connected in any way to "social concerns" in this country. How shocking to know that in the wealthiest, most prosperous country in the world, good care is not available for our citizens to obtain necessary care.

This has to be a "wealth drain," not only financially, but personally, for the many who are afflicted. It boggles my mind!

Just one postscript: From time to time, when appropriate, the Chronicle has generously listed organizations and phone numbers for any who would like to help with either time or funds for those volunteer organizations in the mental health arena, to help the "blameless and innocent."

The phone has yet to ring.

Marilyn Booth

Inverness

 
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