Letters to the Editor

Spence Foscue: Mental health access at its worst

It’s fitting that the photo of the stone marker at Dix Hill shows it upside down in Burgetta Wheeler’s Feb. 12 column “Seeking a mental health plan.” This seems to be the state of system.

I am retired after 30 years of working in the mental health system, most of them on the clinical front lines. Access to care right now is the worst I have ever seen.

I tried to give my daughter worthwhile advice on how to help a friend access care by going to the state’s 211.org website. After 20 minutes and many dead ends, I had to give up and tell her I could be of no further help except to give her the 800-number listing.

Other than that, my best advice was to walk in to an emergency room somewhere, exactly what the “system” was supposedly redesigned to prevent 15 years ago.

Brian Sheitman’s description echos a well-educated colleague of mine’s appraisal of mental health reform as the “Balkanization of Mental Health.” Will it take the United Nations to solve this crisis?

Spence Foscue

Chapel Hill

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