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Daughter's mental illness drains family

Editor: The high cost of mental illness, Jan Glidewell's column on the mentally ill that appeared in Sunday's paper, was truly a real eye-opener. As an adjunct to that column I would like to include the "high cost of mental illness." My daughter was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic at 14. The subtle symptoms of her early childhood finally was manifesting itself. My husband and I hoped we could beat the odds.

We did the entire circuit of neurologists, endocrinologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, had evaluations by the score and had her involved in many special treatment programs throughout the country. We adapted to a whole new lifestyle and lowered our standard of living.

Our sufferings are beyond comprehension, our life savings, $650,000, gone and emotionally, we were drained. Most of all we lost a once happy-go-lucky delightful child, who had the world at her fingertips, to mental illness; her world had caved in.

I still recall very vividly how she would cry out, "Help me mom, please help me! I don't want to think what my brain is forcing me to think. Help me please."

To be diagnosed as terminally ill with a short life expectancy is far kinder than being diagnosed schizophrenic. The mourning and grieving never ends. This is the high cost of mental illness.

Jan Glidewell also wrote about a drop-in center. I'd like to elaborate somewhat on that if I may. Our community is well represented by centers for the mentally retarded, the physically and visually impaired, many centers for senior citizens, but nothing for the mentally ill. We've appealed to individuals, civic and political groups. We desperately need their help to establish an advocacy and drop-in center as an alternative to professionally staffed programs. A clubhouse where free membership to ex-patients, current patients and those at risk of psychiatric hospitalization are welcome, a place for self-help, socializing and advocacy, where members could share their skills and interests with one another. Self-help and mutual support can and does improve their lives and helps them through their despair and loneliness. Let us provide the first step toward a useful and more productive life.

M. Mazzei Alliance for the Mentally Ill of West Pasco Request for road repairs in Angus Valley ignored

Editor: Another effort to have the roadways in Angus Valley repaired was made recently with the presentation of a petition to County Engineer Robert Wade. Designated Number 239 and bearing the names of 100 landowners in the outer perimeters of the Valley (identified as "Sections 1 and 2"), this petition is the third petition attempt to alleviate inferior road conditions. An earlier petition, Number 198, presented in fall 1985, received additional signatures in April 1988.

All of this points out one thing: Efforts to improve driving conditions for the more than 700 families residing in Angus Valley are

an ongoing state of affairs. These efforts, apparently, fail to receive any attention from the individuals who would, or could, do something about getting these sadly inadequate roads repaired properly.

Approaching their 20-year mark, these roadways, even in their infancy, were not up to "county standards." Maintenance has been a "hit-and-miss" affair. When potholes appear, residents learn to dodge them until someone fills them in - this strategy has been a temporary process and cannot withstand Florida's proverbial torrential rains.

It should be clearly stated, however, that the continuing support from County Commissioner Curtis Law, along with his concerned attitude and singular efforts, is greatly appreciated. Without Law's assistance even the "road patching" would not have been accomplished. Contrary to the belief of some Pasco residents, Law has favorably demonstrated his concern and has genuinely made attempts to assist in improving conditions.

Angus Valley's residents cannot help but wonder whatever happened to "fair apportionment" of tax monies for road maintenance?

P.H. Hannaway Otis LeCompte III L.B. McElroy Sr. Wesley Chapel Pasco boys' basketball teams deserve coverage

Editor: Wake up, St. Petersburg Times . . . there are boys high school basketball teams in Pasco County! From your current coverage of these local teams, not many people in the community even know that they exist. For example, your reporting of perhaps "the best-kept secret on the Suncoast," Ridgewood High School, has been almost non-existent. This is a team that is 17-3 overall and 13-0 against local competition. Our community deserves to know more about not only this team, but all of the teams in Pasco County. Your attempts to cover these events should at least equal the efforts these teams put forth each week, win or lose!

Joe Alpine Port Richey Abilities of road paving company questioned

Editor: If the expertise R. E. Purcell Contractors exhibited in the Leisure Hills road paving project is any indication of this company's ability, then the next time there is a renaming of Pasco's roads, Little Road near the Government Center will become "Big Boo-Boo" Avenue.

Betty Tillis Spring Hill