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Ventura County Perspective

Funding for Mental Health Services

November 15, 1998

I recently learned of the merger of the county's welfare services, work force development and mental health services onto one agency called Human Services. I understand that the main purpose of this merger is to improve the services given to the public. I also understand that, with this merger, funds earmarked for the mentally ill would be commingled with the funds earmarked for drug and alcohol treatment and other welfare programs.

With this commingling of funds, what assurance do Supervisors Susan Lacey, Kathy Long and John Flynn give to ensure that funds set aside specifically for mental health are in truth spent on mental health? Are these supervisors acting as gods by adopting an ill-conceived idea such as this merger as a means to rob Peter to pay Paul?

We need funding for mental health because awareness of the mental health problem lags far behind AIDS, cancer or other medical causes championed by celebrities and politicians alike. Private donations to the cause of mental health are negligible. How often do you see fund-raisers for mental health?

Funding for medical, psychiatric treatment of patients and research is imperative. We must not allow the only funds available for the treatment of mental illness to be used for other causes.

LILLY HANSON

Simi Valley

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