If you have any doubt there’s a mental health crisis in our state, listen to the stories of these courageous mothers from West Hartford, who spoke to Scott Pelley of 60 Minutes. They shared the pain, frustration, fear and anxiety of trying to get help for their children suffering with mental illness.
We at The Village know these stories well. Our staff in our outpatient clinics and short-term residential treatment programs, and even our preschool program, hear them day in and day out.
It pains me, like I’m sure it pains anyone, to hear these stories. We know that it’s not easy to treat children suffering from a mental illness. It’s complicated, difficult work, often requiring several methods and approaches…and setbacks. Sometimes, it’s a lifelong battle. But we can provide the child and parents with tools to help them avoid crises, and to cope with the difficulties that erupt from time to time.
The families we see here at The Village, and those treated ant other programs across the state, are receiving help – they have hope that things will get better. It’s the families who – as the 60 Minutes program so aptly put it, have Nowhere to Go, that get to me.
There just are not enough mental health staff, not enough programs, not enough education about what is available, and not enough funding to pay for what’s needed. We, as a society, are leaving these families out in the cold.
Connecticut legislators did a tremendous job last year in passing comprehensive mental health legislation. Task forces have been meeting to determine what services are needed and how to pay for them. We’ve been part of those discussions. But we’re just at the starting line. There’s a long way to go.
And we could use your voice in keeping the spotlight on these issues. If you care as much as I do, if you want your voice to be heard, let your legislators know. Write a letter to your local paper, now as our legislators prepare to come back into session. Let’s add all of our voices to those courageous mothers from West Hartford. We need to make sure every child in our state who suffers with a mental illness has a place to go.