Shands is turning its back on those with mental illness


Published: Sunday, January 22, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 22, 2006 at 1:13 a.m.
Given my husband's and my recent experiences with a close family member in the Shands psychiatric facilities, I could not agree more with Bruce Stevens' Jan. 1 "Speaking Out" concerning the stigma of mental illness in our society and the proposed elimination of psychiatry space at Shands.
Our loved one, suffering from clinical depression, attempted suicide after the loss of a spouse and was a patient in both Shands Hospital and Shands Vista facilities for an extended period. Upon hearing of the proposed eviction of the inpatient psychiatric facility at Shands Hospital, I was appalled.
If Shands should propose any changes to be made to its psychiatric services, it should be expansion and improvement of its existing services. As my husband and I have excruciatingly learned during our journey with our loved one through this unforgiving and unwelcome disease, there are so many of Alachua County's and surrounding counties' citizens - young and old, victims and their loved ones - who are suffering greatly from the effects of mental illness.
We must question the motivation of any hospital institution that turns its back on society's weakest members who are in the greatest need of professional care, protection, understanding and love.
Angela Linder, Gainesville

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