The fascinating thing about writing an opinion column is you never know how people are going to take it. There are days when you know you’re going to get blasted for your viewpoint, but you write it anyway because it needs to be said. On those days, you pull your collar up, keep your head down, and hit “ready-to-edit.”

The fascinating thing about writing an opinion column is you never know how people are going to take it.

There are days when you know you’re going to get blasted for your viewpoint, but you write it anyway because it needs to be said.

On those days, you pull your collar up, keep your head down, and hit “ready-to-edit.”

On June 29, I wrote a piece about a man suffering from mental illness, who nearly killed a Canton police officer.

In this politically correct era, I fully expected to be flayed and accused of being insensitive for calling for more inpatient treatment for seriously mentally ill people.

Treading water

Instead, what I received were a number of telephone calls and e-mails from relatives of people suffering from serious mental illness, all of whom had heartbreaking horror stories regarding their futile efforts to get inpatient treatment for their loved ones.

These are not people who could be related to the “Addamsok Family.” They’re everyday, ordinary folks who did nothing wrong as parents or siblings.

They’re simply people who have been overwhelmed trying to deal with their loved ones’ illnesses; people just trying to tread water.

They’re families who often are caught between a health care system that has dragged its feet on insurance parity for mental illness, against an adult person’s rights, even one who clearly needs inpatient treatment.

They’re people who live in daily, mortal fear that their loved one is going to hurt someone else or themselves, and that only then will someone finally listen to what they’ve been saying all along.

Deja vu

There’s always something new going on in the world, yet there are days when writing a column is like deja vu, or a scene from the movie “Groundhog Day.”

Last week, police in Marlboro Township responded to a domestic-violence complaint in which a man suffering from mental illness had handcuffed his wife. Police found enough weapons and ammunition in the family’s garage to arm a platoon, and material for pipe bombs.

No officers were hurt this time, but the matter of degrees between this suspect’s arrest and a full-metal bloodbath are too small to measure, and too frightening to think about.

What else has to happen before lawmakers will take seriously the issue of mental health, and specifically funding for inpatient treatment? Legislators always manage to find time to submit legislation for naming official flowers, trees, or National Cornhole Week.

Is there no one who will lead the charge to tackle this public-health
threat?

Reach Repository Writer Charita M. Goshay at (330) 580-8313 or e-mail charita.goshay@cantonrep.com