De­mand tax dol­lars for treat­ment ser­vices

Times Colonist - - Comment -

Re: “‘Marginal­ized’ is weari­some bab­ble, let­ter, Oct. 6. “How in­se­cure those hard-work­ing, tax­pay­ing cit­i­zens ... are made to feel by the pres­ence of a drug-in­fested group of peo­ple.”

How dare the writer re­fer to “the home­less” as less than you and me.

Un­less you or a loved one has ex­pe­ri­enced the depths of se­vere men­tal ill­ness, ad­dic­tion or abuse (phys­i­cal or oth­er­wise), it might be im­pos­si­ble to un­der­stand what this group of peo­ple is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing.

Few peo­ple un­der­stand what is in­volved in help­ing some­one re­turn to a place of peace, happiness and health. It can be a never-end­ing, ex­haust­ing, 24/7 bat­tle. Not ev­ery­one has a fam­ily with the strength or stamina to fight this bat­tle.

Per­haps this is the only safe fam­ily unit these peo­ple have ever ex­pe­ri­enced, feel­ing strong enough to­gether to cope with is­sues and ask for help.

Per­haps those “hard-work­ing, tax­pay­ing cit­i­zens” should de­mand their tax dol­lars be spent on men­tal-health and ad­dic­tion ser­vices to help these peo­ple. Just where do you think ev­ery­one went when Riverview hos­pi­tal was shut down?

Not ev­ery­one with men­tal-health is­sues is suit­able for treat­ment in the com­mu­nity. Time spent in a ter­tiary men­tal-health fa­cil­ity would mean the dif­fer­ence be­tween life and death for some peo­ple.

Thank god this group of peo­ple has the in­sight to rec­og­nize they need as­sis­tance re­turn­ing to a safe, peace­ful and health­ier ex­is­tence. Thank god they have the gump­tion to stand up and ask for what they need to achieve qual­ity of life. Sue Pazder Sid­ney

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