LTE: Mental health issues suggest a Taintor vote | Winchester Star

LTE: Mental health issues suggest a Taintor vote | Winchester Star

More adequate mental-health services a necessity

I enjoyed reading Brian Brehm’s June 3 article on Winchester’s work to create a mental health assessment facility (Northwestern Crisis Intervention Team Assessment Center).

It is so important that our local governments provide mental-health services for Virginians. A loved family member of mine has suffered with serious mental illness for all of her adult life, usually well-managed with medication. Her biggest challenge has been accessing affordable, community-based mental-health support — especially if she experiences a crisis.

But I also think our state government needs to do more to provide adequate mental health services for Virginians. For example, with a nationwide shortage of child psychiatrists (13 per 100,000 in Virginia), the Virginia Mental Health Access Program (VMAP) linking pediatricians with child psychiatrists for treatment and medication consults is an important start to help young patients, but it needs additional funding to expand statewide.

For children, early diagnosis, intervention, and treatment is literally lifesaving. We are losing children to suicide while they languish on outpatient care wait lists sometimes 400 names long.

Her strong support of mental health care is one of many reasons I’m supporting Mavis Taintor in her race to represent the 33rd District in the House of Delegates; she knows mental health care IS health care; and wants to provide state support for facilities in Western Loudoun, Frederick, and Clarke counties.

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