Monday, March 23, 2009

Going Public with the Synergy Center Concept

I got the following letter to the editor published in last Saturday's Colorado Springs Gazette!

Mental health deserves support

This is in response to Morris Roth's Dream City article, "We should stamp out stigma of mental illness," in Sunday's Gazette. It always cheers me up to see anyone address the problem of mental illness in our community.
Although I am proud to live in Colorado Springs, I always apologize for the primitive state of health care that exists for anyone unfortunate enough to have a mental disorder around here. One way we could catch up is to establish what I call a "synergy center," which would incorporate self-help groups, classes, holistic treatments, a drop-in center, occupational therapy, and even an employment service under one roof. We hope the concept will be replicated elsewhere, like the successful formula that turned McDonald's into a multi-billion-dollar empire.
The public needs to be educated into accepting the idea that if we don't invest in a facility like this, we pay for our neglect in other ways: higher crime, drug usage, suicides, broken homes, etc. I estimate that neglecting our mental health costs our society more than $70 billion a year, and all we ask are a few crumbs off the table to make a difference in people's lives.

Charles M. Sakai, Colorado Springs

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