Below is a commentary on WCHL, which involves a call for local leadership.
With the new year approaching, I’ve been thinking about what I’m hoping for in 2010. And, since I’m a social worker, lots of it has to do with changes I hope to see this coming year.
Along with global hopes, like world peace and affordable healthcare, I also have some local hopes for our community. Some are small..like the hope that this is the year people will finally get off their cell phones and Blackberrys and drive. But one is big, and I’d like to share it.
As you’ve probably heard, North Carolina’s mental health system is a shambles. Parents can’t get help for severely depressed kids, adults can’t find services so they can function and raise their families...People are hurting, or dying, and the state is finally facing a lawsuit.
Former Mayor Foy put together a task force to look at this issue locally. The task force reported its recommendations to the Chapel Hill Town Council, the Carrboro Board of Aldermen and the County Commissioners. Though there was a proposal for a committee to look at this in Chapel Hill, not much else happened.
So my hope for 2010 is that our local leaders will develop a strong sense of righteous indignation and moral outrage at the conditions people with mental illnesses face...and that this outrage will lead them to act, to figure out ways to pool resources, be creative, and get folks the help they desperately need.
That’s my hope for 2010. And, I hope you and yours have a peaceful and joyous holiday.