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Cutting help for the helpless

July 18, 2007

Re "Health program at risk," July 14

Here we go again, cutting funds for the most vulnerable people in our society. The mentally ill homeless don't vote and don't generate much in the way of tax revenue. Eliminating funding for the Integrated Services for Homeless Adults With Serious Mental Illness will end up costing us more than it will save. One day in an acute psychiatric ward costs more than $1,000; a day in jail costs $200 and up. But the most dramatic cost of untreated mental illness is suicide.

LOUVINA F. WONG

MICHAEL SACHS

Los Angeles

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We Americans are so conflicted about mental illness. Many of us deny that it exists, and many more of us don't want to provide the funding to treat those who are suffering from psychological illnesses. Unfortunately, tragedies like the Virginia Tech shootings and the inadequate treatment of large numbers of homeless persons will continue unless we, as a society, become more accepting that one's health includes both physiological and psychological health and that it is necessary to provide the services that will help ensure that we are healthier.

KARL STRANDBERG

Long Beach

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That sounds like the government -- take a program that doesn't cost taxpayers very much and has been dramatically successful in only three years, and eliminate it because the people it supports aren't a powerful voting bloc. Of course, the mentally ill can always go back to jail. Wait, I forgot -- we don't have money to increase bed space in jails.

SUSAN BUCKNER

Seal Beach

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