Friday, October 17, 2008

Candidates agree Missouri's mental health care needs more attention

Inadequate funding for mental health care proved a more salient issue than heavyweight topics such as the economy and tax policy at a voter forum Thursday night.
Education also came up frequently throughout the evening's sparring, highlighting a number of shared values by candidates who differed greatly in how they'd pursue those values.
The Columbia League of Women Voters and the American Association of University Women hosted seven candidates from three different Boone County races at the Columbia Public Library.
The candidates for Boone County administrator spoke first. Residents heard their prepared marks and put them on the spot about issues that mattered to them.
John Sullivan is the Republican running for an office where many see practicality as more important than partisanship. He noted that whoever becomes the county administrator will be responsible for nearly 400 residents who are unable to take care of themselves.
"This race is about life and death," Sullivan said. "It's about where children get placed after their parents died unexpectedly."
Both Sullivan and his Democratic opponent, Cathy Richards, touted their education and past professional positions in order to gain support.
Richards pointed out that most of those taken care of by the county administrator suffer from mental illness, something she has worked with in her pursuit of a master's degree in counseling. Both candidates expressed a personal devotion to the cause of their campaign.
"It's a complex job, and I do take it seriously," Richards said. "I do because I like and love people."
Sullivan was the first of the evening to point out Missouri's failure to provide adequate mental health care.
"The greatest challenge to this job is the very fact that as a society we have not completely and adequately funded the needs of those who are mentally ill," Sullivan said. "The services that we need for the mentally ill are fragmented ... it's not a comprehensive program."

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Now I ask at this point what will be done about these issues? Time will tell us wont it.

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