Here in Connecticut, it’s fix-the-state-budget time, and our local NAMI affiliate arranged an event last night that was powerful, organized, and well-attended – except for the state legislators who’d promised to appear. The speakers were inspiring; they had progressed from homeless to productive, from hospital patient to independent citizen, from dropout to Masters Candidate -all with the help of (a)integrated treatment and (b) community. If services are cut for these speakers, they will lose all they have gained. I wish Ben had been there with me to hear their stories; I hope that, someday, he might be willing to share his.
If services are cut, the true cost will be great.
How much more will it cost the state in the future – and, more importantly, how much will be lost in the lives of these speakers and others like them – if we take away the support that helps them now? Without access to a supportive community and proper treatment – including essential medication – my son, all those inspirational speakers and countless other citizens like them, are likely to wind up in hospitals, homeless shelters, the streets, or in jail. That would, indeed, be pound-foolish – and devastating to the lives of courageous individuals who have already accomplished so much.
Where were our state reps? How can they hear the message? It falls to us to speak up for ourselves, for our loved ones. But no one can tell the story the way it was told last night. And too many were absent. Kudos to the 2 state reps who did find the time. Thank you.