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Mental health services must be preserved

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The Office of Mental Health’s decision to play smoke-and-mirror games at the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center brings immediate and long-term suffering to patients, families and communities.

The certainty of this statement comes from personal involvement in the mental health system, as the mom of a mentally ill son, a consumer of anxiety and depression medication, a former director of the Mental Health Association in Jefferson County utilizing reinvestment funds and a retired Fort Drum budget analyst. With family interaction touching eight hospitals, four states, various peer run and non-peer run community services and agencies, I have developed a unique yet informed overview full of specifics not intentions. I can discuss the old, the new, the good, bad and indifferent allusions/delusions, assumptions (all us kinds know what that word means) and real outcomes in the mental health system.

Shame on those legislatures who were publicly silent during the listening and decision process. Some believe you lack the will to review the decision and ability to make change. If this is so, why do we vote for you? Why do we put or trust in you? Why do we pay your salaries?

I may appear naive, but I choose to believe that if you get to know the people in my world, together we can make a difference. I challenge all those involved to join me in creating a partnership through public media communication.

Over the next few months, let’s discuss the pros and cons of specific issues. For August, I’ll start with quality of services. What’s your choice for September?

We played their game and lost. Now, let’s go win the war.

Roberta J. Hagerty Watertown

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