100 groups needed on mental health

June 4, 2014

The small workforce of mental health systems, like in Rockford, leaves too many people out.

Insurance and funding inadequacy aggravates the shortage. We must stop leaving people out.

What to do? What did Alcoholics Anonymous do in 1935? They started a system of alcoholic people serving each other. What a vision! It grew like wildfire. As in most communities, Rockford has more than 200 AA meetings a week. Group meetings with understanding and helping people fit the nature of the problem. It works.

Pay attention to that model of community action. With depression/bipolar mental illnesses, groups also fit the nature of the problem for young and old; it works. Rockford has maybe 12 weekly support meetings for them. Who will start a wildfire surge to 100-plus weekly group meetings in all neighborhoods? What to do? Find more providers?

A vision: In this community, many retired people, pastors and determined people will step up. They will study group dynamics to prepare themselves to create the wildfire like AA.

People out here need this. Mental health providers need help. They will decide to ask the public to create dozens of free/affordable groups for the people. Everyone helps everyone in this new system.

Dr. Charles Smith, Mental Health Association/Group Hope
Rockford

From the June 4-10, 2014, issue

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