Help those in need of mental health care

I am writing to express my sadness and my views regarding the recent tragedies in Newtown, Conn., and locally, in Geeseytown.

Because I’ve worked in the mental health field with children for more than 20 years, what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School has touched me deeply, as it has touched everyone throughout the world.

My main concern is all the drastic financial cuts currently being made affecting people who so badly need psychiatric/ mental health care. Rather than trying to help people and give them the assistance they so desperately need, managed care reduces or, in some cases, totally denies services to them.

I work for a local company. Our main objective is providing services for children who have mental health/behavioral problems. Recently, these children have been denied services or, at best, been told to “go to outpatient services for a lower level of care.”

I am talking about children with severe mental health issues, some that involve aggressive tendencies and self-injurious behaviors.

“Lower level of care?” I am currently involved in several appeals to try to fight for these children and their families.

The denials keep coming, which frustrates both the families and our staff.

The children and their families need and trust us. Many will not communicate their feelings to a new therapist; we have gained their trust through hard work and mutual respect.

At a recent appeals hearing, my last comment when a denial was probable was, “I just hope we don’t have to read about this child in the newspaper one day.”

In light of the killings in Newtown, I feel my comment had a very true ring to it. What has to happen before these children and their families get the help they need? Do we have to have another catastrophic event to wake up the “professionals” who deny our services?

My heart goes out to all of those grieving for their children, as well as to the families of school staff who were killed.

Let us learn from yet another tragedy and give mental health services to children and families who are in need. Their lives and the lives of others depend on it.

The money is not the main issue. Human lives are the issue.

Susan Bauder