Mental illness is not contagious

I am personally dismayed at the Ruxton community response to a home that will house the mentally ill under the auspices of the recent purchase of said home by the Sheppard Pratt Health System. I can imagine that some Ruxton Community members may say that it will not affect me personally so it is easy for me to be questioning the values clearly demonstrated by their community. It appears that the Ruxton Community has certain criteria that must be met in order to be able to live in their community, and having mental illness is not on their list.

I speak from personal experience and have lived with someone who has mental illness. Guess what, I was not harmed in any way. Mental illness does not mean you are not a good citizen, it means you have an illness. Will the Ruxton community start to kick out others with other diseases soon? There is still such discrimination against mentally ill people. Mentally ill people did not ask to become mentally ill nor did they smoke or drink too much to become mentally ill. I am also familiar with the Sheppard Pratt Health system, and it is a top quality mental health system — they know what they are doing! The people who live in this house want to function and be able to live in the world. I have no doubt that Sheppard Pratt will provide the appropriate supervision. And yes, if this house was located on my street, I would welcome it and not try to ban it.

Joan Butler, Montgomery County

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