It was reported that in order to balance the budget, Governor Robert Taft of Ohio proposes closing four more psychiatric hospitals including the one on South Point Drive next to Metro Health Hospital in Cleveland. This proposal will cause greater strain on the already tenuous care to mentally ill people in our community. We ask for some reconsideration of this policy to prevent deaths of our homeless disabled citizens.
An Open Letter to Governor Robert Taft
The person within the Taft Administration who is proposing closing the psychiatric hospital, especially the services in Cleveland, needs serious mental health counseling. One of the definitions of severe mental illness is that an individual poses a threat to themselves or others. Any elected official who would consider closing more services for the mentally ill is a definite threat to others, and needs to seek psychiatric services.
Our urban communities have been devastated by the bad decision s made by elected officials with regard to the mentally ill. All of our social services are harmed, because there are not enough support services in the community to help the disabled. All of our shelters are strained to the breaking point in an attempt to assist, with compassion, homeless people that are mentally ill. Our jails are filled with individuals who did not find community support and ran astray of the law. Landlords are drafted into becoming social workers for tenants who must deal with their mental illness in isolation.
Ohio spend a criminally small amount of funds per capita on the mentally ill when compared to other states. To close psychiatric hospitals in order to avoid a politically unpopular tax increase is another sign of Governor Robert Taft’s inability to provide leadership during tough times. I hope that local mayors and the County Commissioners will vigorously oppose this proposal. We will all regret the day that further cuts are made in funding the mentally ill.
Copyright NEOCH published 2001 Issue 50