Ellen Betts Clemmer: Dix was convenient

April 4, 2013 

Dix was convenient

Sunday’s tragic death of a mentally ill man reminds me of how far we’ve come, or have to go, to get help these days. Used to be when someone was involuntarily committed in Wake County, the deputy only had a 10-minute hop over to Dix Hospital from the Wake Crisis Center instead of a two hour trek to a distant facility.

Hmmm, two hours in a car with someone who has been legally determined by a Wake magistrate as “a danger to self or others” rather than 10 minutes? But, wait! We will soon have a very nice park.

Maybe riding through the park before leaving town will soothe these troubled souls. Too bad this beautiful, and valuable, land which was initially left in trust for the mentally ill has been diverted without appropriate consideration for those who have little voice to speak for themselves.

Medicaid expansion of mental health funding will help, but some brave leaders from both political parties will need to jump up and champion the cause of funding services for citizens with mental illness as crucial decisions are being made about the park.

Ellen Betts Clemmer

Raleigh

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