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Mental Health System in State

April 17, 1985

Jacobs' articles cite the shortage of treatment facilities for the mentally ill.

What is not mentioned is that families of the mentally ill are the largest care providers for their ill sons, daughters, etc. A tremendous burden is placed on the families because of this lack of treatment facilities.

As a member of the Orange County Alliance for the Mentally Ill, I have heard hundreds of families tell of their frustration in trying to obtain treatment for their mentally ill loved ones.

Orange County, which ranks 58th out of 58 California counties in mental health per capita spending, is appalling.

Affluent Orange County, with a population of more than 2.1 million, has 14 acute hospital beds, 81 sub-acute non-hospital beds and no long-term treatment facilities. Chances of getting an ill family member placed in one of these beds are about as good as winning a state lottery.

The public and the politicians must be educated to remove the stigma attached to mental illness.

There is no stigma to having cancer or heart disease so people talk openly about it and contribute millions to research and treatment.

Let's remove the stigma of mental illness, take it out of the closet, contribute to research and treatment.

Only then will the millions of affected people be able to live a better quality of life that they deserve.

ANDY BRYSON

Huntington Beach

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