I am writing in support of the Sheppard Pratt facility that is proposed to extend the retreat treatment offered at that hospital.

Many people are given good care in hospitals and in this area are thrust out on their own with inadequate support immediately upon concluding a course of treatment.

I knew someone who actually relocated to Boston because the support services for persons with mental illness were so superior to those in this area, Sheppard Pratt notwithstanding. Indeed, it was the lack of strong "step-down" facilities like the one proposed that was a major concern.

With the country's best hospital in the area, this should be a location with strong mental health centers for treatment at all levels, and community opposition stands in the way of this well intended goal!

I should add that I do understand the concerns of the local residents. But they are not living in a community alone. There are some in the community who need programs like this. And with the level of care offered and the cost to residents, this is not something that should threaten the neighbors in any way. These are functioning adults who need some supervision and support as they come out of programs to alleviate depression, anxiety, etc. It is our duty as a community to offer such needed services.

Please count this letter as a strong vote for placing the rehabilitation center in the community as planned. Local mental health services are woefully inadequate as anyone who has needed them knows. To those who oppose this, they might think about the fact that some day, a loved one of theirs could be the recipient of such services — life being as unpredictable as it is! And in any case, it is the right thing to do, regardless.

B. Bernstein, Bowie