First Posted: 6/7/2009
To the Editor,
I find it hard to believe that a state that has recently undergone so many changes that ruined a much needed service is now proposing to eliminate so many programs of this service. I speak of the mental health system of North Carolina. The state has pushed many providers into the corner and not allowing them the chance to provide the actual service they are designed to give. Originally the Community Support Program was a great idea on paper. Unfortunately, the state left so many loop holes that a small number of providers were able to abuse this system and profit only themselves. The state pushed providers to hire paraprofessionals to provide a community based service, but did not require appropriate training or education.
This alone allowed the abuse and confusion to only mushroom as time progressed. Unfortunately, the state is now punishing the consumers that are served instead of punishing the offenders. Instead of making provisions to keep the mentally ill out of the hospitals and local jails, they are eliminating or dramatically reducing most mental health services that are outpatient and residential based. Adding to this reduction is the elimination of two programs that provide 50 beds total for acute psychiatric care. While there might be programs that the state has in mind, there are no programs currently in place to assume the mass influx of the mentally ill that will occur. I ask you, as the reader, this one question: Would you allow someone suffering from cancer, AIDS, or diabetes go untreated? I would certainly hope not. Often enough mental illness is compared with the attitude of Get over it, grow up, and move on.
I challenge those with this attitude to do research on depression, anxiety, and other illnesses as it is clear that you have no concept of this subject. I am writing this letter not because I fear for my job, as I am currently a QMHP at a local mental health provider, but because I genuinely fear for the safety of my consumers and the community in which they live. Do not punish those suffering even further by taking away their very few chances of hope and limited resources.