Chaos follows society's lack of care for mentally ill

Published: Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013 - 4:10 pm
Last Modified: Monday, Dec. 16, 2013 - 1:21 pm

Re "Mental patients bused - and crime followed" (Page A1, Dec. 15): As former mental health workers, who lived through the destruction of California's mental health system pioneered by Gov. Ronald Reagan, we want to thank you for top-flight reporting covering the care of the mentally ill. The budgetary cuts and wholesale dismantling of state hospitals and community mental health services resulted in a cruel, protracted attack on those least able to defend themselves - the mentally ill, along with resulting collateral damages to their families and neighborhoods. In California today, police are the first responders to a distressed mentally ill person, often in a homeless camp or under a freeway overpass. The true cost of the short-term budget "balancing" is higher levels of crime and violence, more expensive and less effective community and police interventions, and massive suffering of everyone touched by this callous lack of care.

-- Mark and Rachel Shumway, Georgetown

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