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The Need For Mental Health Care

Each year our Diocesan Public Policy Committee selects three issues to promote awareness of.  This year’s issues are

  • Sex Trafficking – Even in our own country, people are exploited and treated as objects of pleasure.  Our faith is clear that people are not objects and must always be treated with dignity and love.  The exploitation of people for sex stands in direct opposition to the dignity of the person.
  • The Common Good – The concern here is rooted in the growing separation of the rich and the poor.  There is the old saying, “The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer.”  We must work to make sure that everyone has what they need and ensure that no one is denied their needs because of the rich holding all the wealth.
  • Access to Mental Health Care – People face mental health difficulties for various reasons.  Some because of medical conditions and some because of the circumstances of their lives.  All people have a right to health care and that includes mental health care (for more on the right to health care see my website on “Why the Catholic Church is Concerned With Health Care?“).

Focusing now on the Mental Health Care, it is an issue that is bigger than just the person with the mental health issue.  I attended a presentation this week on this issue by Catholic Charities.  Two of the speakers were mothers who both had a child with mental health issues.  It didn’t just affect them.  It affected their whole family, the children at school, and even the parents’ work.  If you read the diocesan material on this issue you can hear stories of parents losing their jobs because of the time they spend just trying to make sure the child gets the care they need.  One of the mothers even talked about not being able to attend church because of the child’s behavior.  Eventually, her church began to understand what was really going on.  Do we?

There is, of course, a cost element to mental health care but statistics also say that there is simply not enough trained professionals (especially for children) to provide the amount of mental health care is needed. 

We need to do what we can to support those with mental health care.  Is there something you can do?

Peace,

Fr. Jeff

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