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Forum: Mental health care cutbacks a factor

Updated: January 27, 2013 6:24AM



Most people acknowledge a correlation between the closing of mental health facilities and the rise in homelessness. But we must be willing to consider also a possible link with violent crime.

Clearly, the unintended consequences of eliminating these resources extends well beyond the affected families. Society may be impacted in ways we have yet to examine. In such centers, we limit the risk that patients harm themselves or others, and there is no access to firearms.

It’s difficult for many parents of the mentally ill to accept that their child might not be capable of functioning in modern society. Marshaling all resources at their disposal, they attempt to integrate their child into the mainstream. This may have been the case in Newtown, Conn.

Try to assimilate the mentally disturbed or institutionalize them? What is the litmus test? Most of us will never have to make these agonizing decisions. But efforts to include the mentally disabled in mainstream society increases the potential for another Adam Lanza.

Are we in the U.S. doing all we can to help these individuals? Balancing the budget on the backs of our most vulnerable members of society has potentially enormous repercussions. But then again politicians are pragmatic. When it comes down to it, the mentally ill don’t vote.

And demonizing guns as the root cause of all of society’s problems always plays well in the press.

Matt Korzeniowski

Tinley Park

Need stronger family values

I grew up in a traditional family where Dad went to work and Mom stayed home. Together they shared and gave their children love and support, and we knew they were always there for us.

My husband grew up with the same values, and we raised our child the same. We gave up a lot for me to be a stay-at-home Mom — only one television, one car, no designer jeans, no luxurious trips. We had home-cooked meals and family time was when we sat at the dinner table.

I look at the tragedies of today’s world such as the Connecticut shootings. I used to blame it on drugs but then realized there’s more to it than that. I hate blaming parents for all that goes wrong in their children’s lives, but I do feel that the broken family unit has a lot to do with it. I know many families need two incomes, but that should not be the norm.

Who’s watching the children? Who’s nurturing them? Computers and television and video games keep most of these children occupied. Do parents know or care what their children are watching? There may be ratings of movies and games to help parents choose what is acceptable, but unfortunately the parent isn’t around all the time to supervise.

I think we need to go back to traditional family values. I think we need to have more gun control and more censorship to protect our children. As a citizen, all I can do is hope our government and the public make positive changes. And I can pray.

Helen Chinske

Alsip



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