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Hernando County's mentally ill desperately need our help

Mentally ill need help desperately

I would like to add a comment on the recent article from Judith Thompson regarding mental illness.

Two years ago, my family member was diagnosed with bipolar disorder after losing his job of 16 years because the business closed. It was difficult for our family to deal with his new behavior, and, even more difficult for him to understand how to put his life back together. I believe that mental illness isn't something anyone thinks or knows about until it falls into their lap! Our jails have become a revolving door for mentally ill people, and ultimately the taxpayers pick up the costs. I wonder if it would behoove us to get involved and understand how we as a society can work at preventing mental illness. After all, we know that knowledge is power.

Unfortunately, because of the horrible stigma borne out of the mental asylums of years ago, family members are reluctant to seek help. The real shame here is not the mental illness but the way society views the problem. Most mentally ill people can function well with medication and counseling. Whether we have arthritis, lupus, heart problems or mental illness, it is the same problem; something has gone wrong in the body.

Having lived in Hernando County since 1985, I was surprised when all of this happened to me and I found that this county did not have enough facilities or psychiatrists to service our residents. I was fortunate to be referred to NAMI's Beautiful Mind Center where I attended weekly support group meetings. I also attended the free 12-week Family 2 Family class which gave me hope and a better understanding of mental illness to help me with my family member.

The stress of our current economy, service people coming home needing assistance, and the behavioral problems of young people are all growing problems that we can no longer ignore. The need for services at the Beautiful Mind Center is up, and the donations are down. Since NAMI is an all-volunteer organization, I see that they really need our help.

In 1993, I saw this community get behind efforts to raise money for a domestic violence center, and in two short years, we started the Dawn Center. Better awareness of mental health and the NAMI Center is an issue that needs the same community attention, so if you can volunteer or financially donate to this organization that has been quietly helping Hernando County for 20 years, please give them a call at (352) 684-0004. Together we can make a difference in our community.

Rita Tice, Spring Hill

Storm shelter will attract homeless | Dec. 18 letter

Writer's letter reveals ignorance

When I read the letter was stunned at first. So I read it again. And again, just to make sure I was actually understanding it correctly. The Mike Fasano Regional Hurricane Shelter will serve as a clinic for low-income individuals and the uninsured when not being used as a shelter during hurricanes. The letter writer commented, "Low income and uninsured equates to homeless."

This very statement is absolutely the most uninformed, uncaring and unbelievable statement I think I have ever read in my newspaper and I read it every single day. We live in a time when there are millions of uninsured people who work full-time jobs and support families. Most of them that I know are actually middle class families who, because of the need to buy groceries, pay for their children's school lunches, etc. , cannot afford the high cost of health insurance.

As a paralegal who has had a successful career for almost 20 years, I nearly faced being uninsured recently and I have not only a cancer that is in remission, but a debilitating disease that does not allow me to work anymore. Thank God for my husband's group policy because when I tried to get insurance myself, I couldn't. I was denied.

The letter writer should wake up. There are people living in his own neighborhood who cannot afford health insurance and, obviously, they are not homeless. And besides that, homeless people have a right to health care just as much as you and I do.

How dare he disparage these people. He doesn't don't know their stories and doesn't know why they are homeless. I suggest that he volunteer at a local homeless shelter this Christmas and purge his humbug spirit. Learn about human beings, because right now, he doesn't have a clue.

Beverly Dorsey, Spring Hill

Learn by walking in someone shoes

I guess the letter writer has no idea what it's like to have a low income or be uninsured.

A lot of people cannot afford to pay the high fees doctors demand. Any tests ordered and/or prescriptions given to the patient is extra. There are a lot of people that can use these clinics to be treated when they are ill. Everyone is entitled to health care.

The letter writer also said, "low income and uninsured equates to homeless." He needs to get his facts straight. Just because you're low-income and uninsured, it doesn't mean you're homeless. A lot of people have been laid off and some cannot collect unemployment. This does not mean they are homeless. A lot of these people live with relatives or friends. They are actively looking for work. It's not easy right now finding another job in this tough economy!

Evidently the writer also doesn't think that you're entitled to safe shelter if you're unemployed temporarily. Most unemployed people have paid taxes all their lives. Just because they have been temporarily laid off, it doesn't mean they shouldn't be able to go to a shelter to ride out a storm!

Walk a mile in someone's shoes who is unemployed, uninsured and struggling financially and he may have a different attitude. I doubt it, though! People like that are set in their ways.

Cathy Prescott, Port Richey

Hernando County's mentally ill desperately need our help 12/22/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 22, 2009 5:31pm]
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