Letters to the Editor

Treat mental illness

I concur with the May 23 editorial, Mentally ill getting treatment, not jail, that lawmakers should pass legislation to ensure such patients receive treatment instead of incarceration.

Jails are often home to people who shouldn’t be there and, unfortunately, police officers are forced to deal with mental-health patients whom they are not equipped to manage. This is what a Baker Act was intended for, but it doesn’t get used as often as it should.

I’ve worked in a psychiatric and substance-abuse setting for 10 years, and the majority of those admitted needed mental-health and substance abuse counseling, not jail time. More funding should be put into treating acute illnesses — and not just those of the most severely affected.

South Florida has a high rate for substance abuse, which desperately needs to be addressed. Mental health should be treated just like any other illness. I hope lawmakers will push this topic to the forefront.

Maria Spingos, Davie