Do you enjoy the gift of good mental health? If so, you have much to be thankful for. Mental illness does not discriminate and no one is immune from this medical illness. Many in our community and the world around us are not so fortunate. One in four households struggle with a loved one's mental illness. If you are one of these families you know first hand the pain this illness brings.
There is hope for recovery. There are medical advancements being made. Medications and counseling do much to alleviate this illness. Most importantly, the love and support of family and friends have been shown to be one of the best indicators of recovery for a person suffering from a mental illness.
Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) is October 4-10. It is designated by Congress to promote public education about serious mental illnesses such as major depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.
What can you personally do? You can educate yourself about the disease of mental illness. The NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Minnesota Web site (www.namihelps.org) is one of many Web sites with valuable information and helpful suggestions. You can also reach out your hand in friendship; the support of family and friends has a powerful effect on the mentally ill. You can avail yourself of local opportunities to support and understand those with this illness.
There is a 7 p.m. candlelight service Oct. 4, at Lakewood Evangelical Free Church in Baxter. Come and offer your support.
On Tuesday, stop what you are doing to say a prayer for mental illness recovery and understanding on this national day of prayer.
These are just a few suggestions. I guess what it boils down to is opening up your hearts and minds to the mentally ill.
We need efficient government
I read that 25,000 new government employees have been hired in the past nine months. That's 25.000 more salaries and benefit packages the taxpayers have to pay for. Some have been retirees returning to their former jobs while continuing to draw retirement benefits.
In the past 2 1/2 years I received four letters from the Social Security payment center in Chicago. They underpaid me, they overpaid me, they underpaid me, they overpaid me. Two of these conflicting letters were dated the same day with the same signature. Then I received five letters stating different amounts that I owe them. Each of these letters said I could go to any Social Security office if I had questions and if I was not at fault in any way, I might not have to repay them.
I went to the Brainerd office and even though I was the only customer there, the man said he couldn't help me and I would have to go to my local office in Bemidji. I have sent in two reconsideration forms and a waiver form. Now I haven't received a check for the last two months.
So I went to the Bemidji office. They said my check was being withheld until I repay what they say I owe them. I asked about a waiver since I am not at fault. I was told if I can afford to repay it, I have to, no matter whose fault it is. And since every letter is stamped with the office manager's signature, no individual can be held responsible for how they come up with these figures.
We don't need bigger government. We need a more efficient government.
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