(3-20-17) The mother spoke clearly and with a sense of urgency and fear in her voice.
“Our son has late occurring Schizoaffective disorder which began to be evident seven years ago. He is now 46.
Before he became ill, he graduated from Clemson University and worked in a responsible position. Since 2010, our son has been through a list of events that include being incarcerated, 90 days of rehab, hospitalization twice and consistently suffering from the side effects of his medications.
However, he has worked hard to become stable and after two years of treatment, he became stable. This was most notable during the presidential election as he remained focused on the candidates, asked questions and actually voted.”
Her voice was followed by a letter from another concerned parent.
“We have a 34 year-old son, Mariano, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2006. As you can imagine this has brought a lot of suffering, especially to him. He has been under the care and supervision of very competent doctors. But, medical care is only a portion for his wellness. Family and community support are also indispensable to establish a purpose in my son’s life and in the lives of individuals like him.
He is now in a program that offered and still offers him the possibility to relearn and retrain the skills and behaviors that the illness took away. His improvement is shown week to week. And that improvement doesn’t occur only because of the medications, it also comes because of the dedication and knowledge of the counselors helping him… Thanks to their almost individualized attention- there are 4 to 6 clients per group- my son has improved significantly. He realizes he is setting goals that can be attained, even though they will take time, but he is learning to veer all of his energy towards his own betterment.
Why, both women asked, is the county about to close down a program that is helping their sons’ recover from the terrible spiral of debilitating mental disorders? Why is there no money? Why is this particular program that has proven to be effective being terminated?
These mothers are demanding answers from elected officials in Fairfax County, Virginia, where I live, but these same questions are being asked across the nation at budget times because of a lack of public funds for mental health and substance abuse care.