Beginning July 1 the state will stop providing mental health services to over 14,000 adults with severe and persistent mental illness. Laurie Roberts, author of an article in an Arizona newspaper on the subject, hits the nail on the head about what is coming for the mentally ill in Arizona: “… next time, I probably won’t be writing about how someone slipped through our fingers. I’ll be writing about how we put our hands behind our backs and let him go.”
The horrors that people in other states are fighting so hard to prevent will become Arizona reality. There will be no need to say “What if?…” Just look at Arizona and you will find the answer. If you want to know if people without access to even basic treatment can survive or live anything close to the life they deserve look at Arizona. You wont like what you see– but look anyway. If you want to know how to fill a jail look at Arizona. If you want to know how homelessness relates to mental illness look at Arizona. If you want to understand why people without hope kill themselves look at Arizona. If you want to understand how mental illness can be made a terminal illness look at Arizona.
And if you want to see what it means when the government stops reaching out to the people who depend on it for help…If you want to see what happens “…when we put our hands behind our back…” — then look at Arizona.
And when things look hard….when things look impossible….when things look doubtful……DO YOU WANT TO END UP LIVING IN ARIZONA?
The stakes for the mentally ill are so high in virtually every state. This is really the time to speak up, speak out and act. Tell your legislators, tell your newspapers, tell your neighbors…..tell someone. Speak for so many who cant speak for themselves.