Mental health is not the place to cut costs

Re: "Shooter in Giffords attack gets life in prison," Nov. 9

The Arizona, Colorado and Virginia Tech shooters are only the most visible examples of individuals who desperately needed psychiatric treatment and hospitalization. Publicly funded mental health services for the majority of mentally ill people who are nonviolent is in crisis. In many places in the U.S., traditional community mental health centers have closed, and since 2009, state legislatures have cut $1.8 billion in non-Medicaid mental health spending.

I'm one of the fortunate ones to be in the "system." I live in special subsidized housing with Community Services Board staff on-site five days a week. I see a county psychiatrist every three months, and I have an individual county therapist and support services manager. Since 1990, I've received Social Security Disability, Supplemental Security Income, Medicare and Medicaid.

But many seriously mentally ill people don't have the panoply of services I receive. And by no means am I assured that my benefits will continue. Since most people with psychiatric disorders can't work, they depend on these programs to pay rent, bills and groceries. A serious reduction in these benefits would result in hundreds of thousands of seriously mentally ill becoming homeless, institutionalized or ending up in the criminal justice system.

Slashing publicly funded mental health programs will not save money, as emergency rooms and the criminal justice system will just absorb costs. You reap what you sow.

Michael Ragland


Majority of voters think Obama has a better plan

Re: "Obama's tactics are out of China's playbook," From Readers, Nov. 9

It's time for Examiner reader Helen Zheng to move on. The majority of the voters re-elected President Obama and gave him and the Democratic Party the mandate to govern all Americans for the next four years. She needs to respect the will of the people.

She should also stop insulting our intelligence. For example, it's ridiculous for her to believe that because she grew up in China, she knows everything about living under a communist government and the majority of Americans don't know anything.

Zheng should keep in mind that the majority of the voters in the 2012 presidential election re-elected President Obama because they think he has a better plan for the next four years than Mitt Romney.

Cargill Kelly


Obama victory is historic step forward

With the 2012 election, America has now turned the page from its distant past to an inclusive future. To live in this time period and see the past fading away can be compared to the time when America was transitioning from an age of horseback riding to the age of the automobile. Many resisted the coming change, but those that accepted automobiles knew that they were the future.

The election results should also serve as wake-up call to the Republican Party. The America that once was, as reflected in the crowds Gov. Mitt Romney drew on the campaign trail, is a fading America holding on to outdated notions of the past.

With Barack Obama's re-election, the world has witnessed America leading the way toward a tent where all ideas are heard and all talents are considered. That America was seen in the crowds President Obama drew.

The Obama win is about a melting-pot America updating and modernizing and leading the world in tolerance.

Alfred Waddell

West Dennis, Mass.