Issue of mental health can’t be ignored

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Thanks to Elizabeth Hinchman, for bringing up in a recent letter to the editor mental illness and its role in the unbelievable events we have experienced. This issue cannot be “swept under the rug” in the current discussion on gun control.

Even in Walla Walla I’ve been told that at any one time there are a few hundred mentally ill who have no care at all. That was because when the county took over that service they were dropped from the rolls.

In order to be a client of the county you must be on Medicaid not Medicare. Medicaid covers everyone who doesn’t qualify for Medicare, whether they have a work history or not. Medicaid is state-run.

In order to qualify for Medicare an individual must have worked for long enough to qualify for disability. If you are on Medicare and want to get on Medicaid for the mental health treatments available, you are asked to contribute about 20 percent of your income to pay for home care whether you want or need the care or not.

Most folks on disability don’t make a big check and taking that amount can make it difficult, if not impossible, to cover other living expenses. Especially if you have chosen not to avail yourself of programs such as food stamps, subsidized housing and etc.

Often you don’t qualify for this help because your check is just a tiny bit too much. The Medicare-covered individuals are going to local medical professionals for prescription renewals. They have no meds management and frequently refuse or stop taking their pills. The seriousness of that situation cannot be over emphasized. Unmedicated mentally ill can be extremely scary and you don’t know what they might do.

Something has to be done so that there are resources available to provide the type of monitoring these folks must have.

Diane Davis

College Place

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