Mental Health Center provides vital service
"It was the best of times; it was the worst of times ..." So begins the "Tale of Two Cities," describing life in Paris and London and the struggles of the poor and working class in the late 1700s. Although written 150 years ago, Dickens' observation stands the test of time, and speaks to the experiences of many of us in York, Chester and Lancaster counties today.
At Catawba Mental Health, we are busy in the best of times, and during the worst of times, we are even busier. We have seen referrals for mental health services increase over 10 percent during the past several months at a time when we have had our state funding reduced by 20 percent ($957,000). We are serving 3,500 individuals and families at our clinics in Chester, Lancaster and York counties. Referrals for special services are increasing in all of our schools, social service and health care agencies in our three-county region. We anticipate an increased need for services for our returning veterans and their families.
Research from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) concludes that serious mental illness is the leading cause of disability in the United States today. There is also a direct correlation between mental illness and poverty/economic downturn; as unemployment and poverty increase, so does illness.
Mental illness is not a socio-economic struggle, but a biological illness that is treatable. Individuals afflicted with serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar illness and major depression can and do recover.
Locally, we do have the very best schools, health care, mental health and social services programs, but as funding is cut, none can afford to continue to provide the array of services needed by our most vulnerable and disabled citizens. Individuals with mental illness and their families show great courage in their refusal to surrender their pursuit of life, liberty and happiness, despite economic obstacles that may disproportionately affect their quest for these basic freedoms.
Leadership at the state and local levels has also shown courage and foresight during these times to mitigate the consequences of the budget reduction on the individuals and their families who entrust their care to us.
We should never fail to recognize the courage and commitment of the staff at all of our public agencies. It is these tireless professionals who continue to provide needed treatment services and supports despite economic threats to their agencies and to their jobs.
The Catawba Community Mental Health Center Board does not represent the "noisiest authorities" on these times (with perhaps a few exceptions), and we do not view these times in the "superlative only," as Dickens admonishes. However, we do view the staff at our public, state-funded agencies, clinics and schools with awe and admiration for their continued selfless works.
Superlatives are the only bonuses we can afford to give these knowledgeable and passionate advocates now, so we urge you to recognize these public servants at Catawba Community Mental Health Center, North Central Family Medical Center, Veterans Administration, Department of Social Services, Department of Juvenile Justice, Department of Corrections, Keystone, Lancaster Counseling, Hazel Pittman Center, Children's Attention Home, Learning Institute For Tomorrow, the United Way, Pilgrims Inn, Safe Passage and our Schools, et al.
Thank them for being there for us during the best and worst of times.
Paul J. Cornely, PhD,
Stimulus bill is full of pork
In response to Curtis LeMay's recent letter calling Republicans hypocrites, I think LeMay couldn't recognize pork if he was standing in a pig farm. The Republicans may be called hypocrites but we can't be called baby-killers either! Does he not think the wonderful stimulus plan coming from Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank is not full of pork? Not earmarks but pure pork!
Two-hundred million dollars for insurance for honey bees. How about $250 million for the movie industry. Boy, that is a great stimulus. (It's just payback for campaign contributions.) As far as deregulation, Slick Willie started requiring banks to stop red-lining people for home loans. How can you require a bank to loan money to people who don't have jobs! I guess that is the Democratic way.
Slick cut the military funding just like the new king of the USA is going to do. We don't need a strong defense in this country because the new regime is going to use diplomacy. We'll just talk the terrorists out of attacking us. If Congress will rush, rush, rush the proposed stimulus plan through without going over all the details, then all the garbage will slip through. Nancy Pelosi said it's unpatriotic to vote against all their paybacks. But the Republicans are only doing their job. You don't rush through important matters unless you have a lot of pork to hide!
Safety of children is prime concern
In response to the letter from Phillip Jones of Rock Hill concerning administrators wanting a "snow day" more than the students: School administrators get up in the very early hours of the morning to check the weather by riding the roads and overpasses to ensure that school buses can safely transport our students. They check weather reports, police reports and information from other sources before making a decision to suspend school.
Please understand that school closings that are weather related are made with student safety as the number one reason. Most administrators have to report to work to answer phones, etc. What would be the outcry if one student was injured because the administrators did not stop the buses from traveling over an ice-covered road or overpass?
J. Lee McCormick, ED.D