Letters to the Editor

Tuesday, Dec 18 2012 11:00 PM

Give families some control

By The Bakersfield Californian

Gun control is not the answer to the rash of shootings. Proper treatment for the mentally ill is the answer. During the 1960s, laws were passed giving the mentally ill control over their own treatment, as part of the civil rights movement. In the '80s, private insurance companies discontinued coverage for the mentally ill. Private and state mental hospitals were closed and many ill people were forced to live on the streets. Parents, spouses and caregivers could no longer force anyone into seeing a doctor, taking their medications or being hospitalized.

Most mentally ill people do not realize they are ill or do not take their medications as prescribed. I know from experience -- a family member either took all her meds at once or threw them out. It has been 35 years of pure hell, and it destroyed her family. It's time to give loved ones some control over their ill family members, to stop all this violence and get proper treatment for those in need. We seem to find funds for school lunches, fast trains and help for other countries that hate us. Let's give our mentally ill a better life by getting them housed and the treatment they need.

Barbara Mervau

Bakersfield

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