Open forum: In the Runoff Election, Consider Those Who Have No Choice

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

Dear Source:

I hope that all the people who go to the polls to vote in the upcoming runoff election will reflect on the state of mental health care in the territory. Despite a consent decree that calls for the implementation of a 5-year strategic plan to improve both the access to care and the quality of care, no concrete action has been taken by the [Virgin Islands] government.

People continue to be in distress: individuals with mental illness, their families as they struggle to support them, the community as they confront on a daily basis the impact of a non-functioning mental health system. Individuals with mental illness and their families deserve better. We all deserve better.

When you vote in the runoff, please consider those who are disenfranchised, who have no voice, and who so desperately need their community to help them become contributing members to our society rather than annoyances.

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Rachel Pakenham, MSW, LCSW, CISW
Frederiksted, St. Croix

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