Saturday, February 17, 2018

Dear President Trump: Please don't put mental health care on your radar screen

The most distressing news to come out of the Parkland, Fla., high school massacre is that President Trump is now going to pay attention to mental health.

We have seen what happens to issues when Trump starts paying attention to them. His "concern" about our immigration laws have led to families being ripped apart by ICE and the Dreamers dreams to be abandoned.

And then there is the ridiculous border wall.

He and his Congressional cronies addressed the economy by passing the TaxScam bill that turns the economy over to the billionaire class.

Healthcare? He wants drastic cuts in Medicare and Medicaid, the country's two largest health care programs.

SNAP or food stamps? Replace the SNAP system with a plan to send food boxes to those on the program. I would say those "poor people" on the program, but I know better. Our family used food stamps on an interim basis when I was underemployed and we had four mouths to feed on a salary for two. My disabled daughter is now in the SNAP program. SNAP feeds people. I hesitate to guess what kind of Republican-approved edibles would show up in a Trump Food Box.

Education? I have one name for you: Betsy DeVos. She is our so-called secretary of education who wants to privatize our prized public school system and to turn college students into paupers. Trump's base hates the educated class because we insist on using facts in our political arguments.

Now mental health. I have written about the mental health system numerous times. I am not a mental health professional. But my daughter has been in the system for 11 years and I can speak with some authority of her experience -- and ours.

My daughter Annie has been diagnosed as bipolar and has borderline personality disorder. Over the years, our family has sought treatment for Annie in many programs in five states. Why so many? First, she was unable to get the care she needed in Wyoming which, to federal granting programs, is considered a pioneer state, as if we were still rolling across the prairie wagons or handcarts. We are fortunate to live in the state's capital city and have used the services of good therapists and psychiatrists, some in private practice and some who work with Peak Wellness. As a minor, we had some say in the places she was sent for treatment, some of those in Colorado and California. When she turned 18, she made some of those choices, not all of them good. Some were excellent, as was New Roads Treatment Center out of Salt Lake City. Her caregivers in 2018 are at Summit Stone in Fort Collins, Colo. Colorado has a leader and mental health advocate in Gov,. John Hickenlooper.

One of the strengths and weaknesses of the United States is that every state sets its own agenda. Colorado has a Democratic governor and mostly progressive legislature. Wyoming has a Republican governor and a Know Nothing Republican legislature. Guess which state takes better care of its mentally ill?

Just take a look at some of the crackpot bills that are on the agenda for this year's Wyoming Legislature.

Please, I beg you President Trump, don't pay attention to mental health care. It has enough problems without you.


Lynn said...

I don't know whether to laugh or cry at this post. Laugh because of the ludicrous concept that we have to hide our most urgent needs from our policy-makers to safeguard the little we have, or cry because of the slow dismantling of the hard work of thousands of people through the years to create good programs.

Michael Shay said...

Tears and laughter are both appropriate for the reasons you mention. Right now, I am in the anger stage. And I didn't even talk about the Trumpists' attacks on the arts and humanities and libraries. This has to change or our country is sunk.