Taking care of our unfortunate fellows

Mary and  Joseph looked for a place to stay for the night. They aren’t alone.

We are surrounded by unfortunate people. If we close our  eyes to it, we are  guilty of neglect.  We used to have special hospitals for the mentally ill. We closed  those over time due to abuses and a plan to move them to regular hospitals and community based treatment centers.

The treatment centers rarely materialized except in some enlightened urban centers.

President Kennedy started work on the problem.

CNN did a story on homelessness. This is a serious problem.

I was just enjoying a swim at my local  YMCA and conversation with my fellow citizens. One of them  told me a story of encountering a mentally ill man picking his skin bloody in front of her business. She spoke with him, but there was no one home.  She herself has a brother with mental illness. She  showed compassion.

She called the police to get aid for this person. They investigated the man and then asked her where they should take him.

She asked had they never dealt with a mentally ill person before ?  Why would they ask her where to take him?

While meeting with a Detective at the Ventura County Sheriff’s office, I overheard a former customer asking about going back to jail. Jail provided him with a place to sleep and meals. Seems to me we need better places for people to go.

Our major mental hospitals are closed. We do need community based health care to take  over. This needs to be added to municipal code that the mentally ill be provided for. I’m not talking about the Ritz but a safe, clean, dry place to get treatment, get a place to sleep, use the restroom, take a shower, do some laundry, etc.  They could also receive services.

I have asked my Assemblyman’s office to add this to the municipal code. We are all human being and we need to take care of even those with severe mental illness. With treatment, many will get well and become contributing societal members.

It’s the right thing to do. I hope you agree. We are one of the most advanced societies on Earth. Shouldn’t that be reflected in our actions ?

Bernardo de La Paz
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Taking care of our unfortunate fellows by Bernado de la Paz is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.