News Article Details

YOURS: Mental health care needs attention

The Rapid City Journal - 5/19/2018

An open letter to the 2018 candidates for governor of South Dakota: Billy Sutton, Marty Jackley and Kristi Noem, to-wit:

The issue of a West River state-supported mental health center is not going to go away. Lift service is not acceptable and the public has a right to know what your honest, open platform is on this urgent issue. Your response will be disclosed in a narrative publication to citizens via newspaper publication on or before June 22. That is sufficient time for you to advise concerning this letter of inquiry regarding your formulation of a response to it.

If you choose not to respond, it will speak volumes - no concern or even interest. People are looking for a leader with status, character, strength and compassion. Where do you fit in? We just need to know.

1) Do you support the current state statute that allows for those suffering from a mental crisis to be put in jail?

2) Do you believe it is in keeping with good and professional treatment policy and acceptable for a mentally ill person from West River who needs mental health treatment to be put on one of the two buses leaving Rapid City each week and travel literally hundreds of miles (350) before they can receive needed treatment and be shackled to the bus floor before their treatment can start?

3) Have you made mental health a priority in your platform for your first term as governor?

4) Do you support equal care and treatment for those who suffer from a mental health illness?

5) Have you worked on a financial solution to provide financing for the construction and staffing of a state-supported West River mental health center by, for example:

Sale of state bonds;Increase of sales tax, tobacco tax, liquor tax;General Fund support;A consortium between federal and state funding;Have you considered another creative solution and, if so, what is it? Share your proposal with us;A public/private partnership;We're all keeping an eye on a pending U.S. Supreme Court case that may require all online businesses to submit sales taxes to the states;Do you believe our state mental illness system has languished for decades to the point where it is now in crisis?Are you dedicated to approaching this problem in a proactive manner and not a reactive way?

We need and deserve to know where your energies and influence will be placed while you serve as governor of all the citizens of South Dakota now and in the future. South Dakota's mental health system is important and it is imperative that it is handled now and not shoved to the background and ignored as it has been for decades. We look forward to your June 22 response. Remember, we need to know.

Please direct your response to Al Scovel at 2902 West Main Street, Suite 1, Rapid City, South Dakota, 57702. Remember, we all are citizens of humanity. Reply publications will follow.


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