Get unlimited digital access to baltimoresun.com. $0.99 for 4 weeks.
News Opinion Readers Respond

Through the mental health revolving door [Letter]

As a parent of a child suffering for 14 years from a devastating severe mental illness — one that includes zero awareness and utter denial that the illness exists — I am bewildered why Maryland has failed to create an assisted outpatient treatment (community based) program ("Close the mental health revolving door," Dec. 29). The pendulum has swung so sharply so as to protect personal rights that we have failed to help those who need it the most. Should we not require persons be given the vaccinations that are part of life's medical treatment protocol? If a child says "no" — if a parent says "no" on behalf of their child who knows no better — should we not provide the proper care? Should we allow tuberculosis to go untreated; or allow those with severe Alzheimer's to refuse treatment to venture on foot without proper clothing into a blinding snowstorm in freezing temperatures?

My child has been hospitalized over 30 times in seven hospitals in four Maryland counties and Baltimore City — most often because we cannot get him timely treatment. Our family has been devastated emotionally and financially, and we are outcasts in our extended family because our child continues through the revolving door: hospitalization, release, hospitalization, release — for 14 years! Stigma grows with every hospitalization. Risk of tragedy grows with failure to treat timely. In a state where we fall woefully short in available beds for treatment, how can we not create such a program?

Not having assisted outpatient treatment is unfair to the person who unknowingly suffers from severe mental illness they never asked for in the first place, and it is unfair to their family. Our family suffers — our child suffers — because as a state we do not take the time, energy and resources to put proper programs in place. I pray change is coming.

Ed Kelley

-
To respond to this letter, send an email to talkback@baltimoresun.com. Please include your name and contact information.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Managing mental illness [Letter]

    Regarding John J. Boronow and Steven S. Sharfstein's recent commentary on mental illness, I said the same thing, albeit more bluntly and without a clinical diagnosis, in a 2007 unpublished letter to the editor ("Close the mental health revolving door," Dec. 29).

  • Close the mental health revolving door [Commentary]
    Close the mental health revolving door [Commentary]

    A state law allowing doctors to keep patients under court-ordered treatment after release into the community would save lives

  • Free community college is a bad idea
    Free community college is a bad idea

    Free community college is another poorly thought idea from President Barack Obama ("Obama turns populist in State of the Union speech," Jan. 21). Am I against opening up the opportunity for many who cannot afford college? Absolutely not, but here is my concern. We already require K-12 education...

  • No known regulations or “best practices” make fracking safe
    No known regulations or “best practices” make fracking safe

    It was gratifying to see fellow members of Gov. Martin O'Malley's commission on hydraulic fracturing, Harry Weiss and Jeff Kupfer, take the time to explain their views on the former governor's proposals for new gas-drilling regulations. Trying to safeguard the public with rules last updated...

  • Ignore the Red Line NIMBYs
    Ignore the Red Line NIMBYs

    Marty Taylor of the Right Rail Coalition has been complaining about the Red Line for many years, long before the final route and plan was presented and approved.

  • Stop the smoke and mirrors of the 'rain tax' debate
    Stop the smoke and mirrors of the 'rain tax' debate

    The article by Pamela Wood on "rolling back the rain tax" ("Counties reconsider stormwater fees," Jan. 25) only adds to my confusion about how the whole state of Maryland continues to be in an uproar over the requirements of the federal Clean Water Act mandating reductions in nitrogen,...

Comments
Loading