While in Cedar Rapids on my semiannual visit from out-of-state to spend time with my bipolar son, I happened to read a guest column in The Gazette (“Mental health crisis demands leadership,” Nov. 4).
Living far away, I can miss the subtle onset of a manic episode. Over the decades, we have been blessed with caring, dedicated and knowledgeable Abbe Center staff observing and talking with him in his home environment every week. They know when he is “sane,” and can readily pickup on little changes in tone, body language and behavior warranting attention. Without this level support, he would not be a functional member of the community.
We are among the lucky ones. He has family and, although underpaid and overworked, involved and caring case workers. If — or more likely, when — he, too, falls prey to inadequate funding, fewer case managers, and no remaining close family members, then the distant, uncaring, for-profit companies with no knowledge of my son will make his life decisions based solely on money.
The 5 percent increase in mental health care funding is merely lip service from uncaring lawmakers to, in effect, ignore the Iowans who, through no fault of their own, need and deserve help from their government. As a former Cedar Rapidian and mom, I stress that our leaders are charged to make rational, reasonable and humane decisions to provide managed care for people who need long term support because, without funding, we will face a worsening crisis with life destroying consequences.