Mental health system not broke but construction of it needs to be finished with proposals like ResCare’s

Mental health system not broke but construction of it needs to be finished with proposals like ResCare’s

It’s no secret that our mental health system is not meeting people’s needs. People wait months to see a mental health professional, wait hours in an emergency room for an inpatient bed, or wait days in the hospital for a residential facility. The reality is that our mental health system isn’t broken – we haven’t finished building it. And while we build the services we know work – people wait. And the waiting takes its toll on the person and their family both financially and emotionally.

The ResCare proposal would address some of these wait times and reduce the anguish faced by too many.

NAMI Minnesota has been involved many times where a community was concerned when a new small mental health facility or program was being proposed in a town or city. We understand that some residents of Elk River are concerned about the ResCare proposal. Our experience is that the fears are unfounded. Our experience is that these facilities are good neighbors and don’t cause problems. Please remember that they aren’t “those” people – they are members of your community. One in five people will experience a mental illness in any given year. A small percentage will need more intensive treatment in a hospital or residential setting. People go to residential treatment to continue to work on regaining good mental health. There are people in Elk River and in surrounding communities that need this level of care. Being able to receive treatment close to friends and family speeds recovery.

We hope that the residents and city council of Elk River will view this development favorably. It’s about helping your family or that of a neighbor. We can’t build our mental health system if every community rejects its development. — Sue Abderholden, MPH (Editor’s note: Abderholden is the executive director for the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Minnesota.)

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