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LETTER: Mental Health Care Disaster

June 9, 2016, 7:11 AM HST
* Updated June 10, 2:42 PM
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Letters to the EditorIt seems as if no one is concerned about the mental healthcare disaster on the Big Island.

The fact is, we have the highest rate of suicide of any Hawaiian island, with nearly 100 deaths from 2010–14.

There are only two psychiatrists to deal with emergencies on the entire island and the case management services have been cut dramatically in the past few years.

Gov. Linda Lingle cut 319 mental health positions in 2009, leading to increased suicides, homelessness and drug use on the island.

I have worked in hospital emergency departments across the US and have never seen such a broken system.

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It’s horribly sad to see how we’ve abandoned children and adults in need.

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We all heard the news about the tragedy of the 14-year-old from Mountain View who suffered and ended up with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

We failed him.

Most of these people are poor. Without a voice, they are forgotten. For each person who we abandon, there are families, children, spouses and a community who suffer.

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Please consider writing your representatives. The Big Island should not be forgotten.

Send “Letters to the Editor” to [email protected].

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