Jobless women struggle to rebuild lives
The call of the Florida Center chief operations officer to double the number of mental health clinicians in elementary schools is an important first step toward meeting the enormous challenges facing poor families during the pandemic (“Mental health needs pressed,” May 5).
Every week single mothers show up at Second Chance Last Opportunity with their children, desperate for food and supplies and a chance to rebuild their lives. These are women whose lives have been derailed, women who once worked but now are unemployed, women whose children are home and hungry.
At SCLO, we provide groceries, personal care items and baby supplies. We also offer free mental health counseling to address the histories of trauma and stress these families face. This is how we start to build trust and offer help and hope.
I invite anyone who believes these mothers prefer not to work to visit SCLO, at 1933 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way, in Sarasota, and look at the faces of those in line for food. This is a line no one ever wants to be in.
April Glasco, CEO and founder, Second Chance Last Opportunity, Inc., Sarasota
Biden undermines vaccine effectiveness
Recently, the president gave a maskless interview to a reporter halfway across the room. If they were too close, Joe Biden stated, they would have to be masked, even though both were fully vaccinated.
A few days later, he and his wife were photographed right next to Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, both in their 90s, without masks. The Bidens donned their masks for the 30-second walk to their car.
The same week, Biden became agitated when he couldn’t find his mask after an outdoor speech. His Secret Service agents apparently don’t carry spares.
Vaccinations nationwide have declined to under 2.5 million a day, from over 3 million, since mid-April.
Biden constantly undermines vaccine effectiveness by ignoring federal guidelines about when they are not needed. His administration’s “pause” in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine didn’t help either.
For our nation to achieve “herd immunity,” the Biden administration, and Biden himself, must act like the vaccines work. For a crowd that campaigned relentlessly on “follow the science,” it is doing a dandy job of ignoring it.
Roger Roess, Venice
Draft shows epilepsy still carries stigma
Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder, impacting 1 in 26 people. With more than 400,000 individuals in Florida having been diagnosed with epilepsy, there shouldn’t be any mystery surrounding this medical condition.
And yet, the isolation and social stigma continues.
That was recently evident during the NFL draft when Justin Fields, an Ohio State quarterback, slid from No. 2 pick to No. 11 after it was disclosed that he has epileptic seizures.
Fields was diagnosed with epilepsy in the ninth grade and with medication has managed to control his seizures – on and off the field!
Congratulations to the Chicago Bears for selecting this warrior in the draft. Fields, no doubt, will prove that seizures are not a disability, but rather a challenge that can be overcome with self-care, medication and determination.
Andria Bilan, Englewood, CEO, JoshProvides Epilepsy Assistance Foundation
Raise awareness about mental health in May
May is Mental Health Awareness Month: Nearly 2 in 5 Floridians say they’ve experienced new or increased anxiety or another mental health concern since the start of the pandemic. What’s troubling is that more than half of these individuals say they did not seek professional help.
Central Florida Behavioral Health Network, based in Tampa, encourages Floridians to prioritize their mental health and seek behavioral health services when needed. By speaking to a professional, or calling 2-1-1, individuals can connect to the resources they need to lead healthy and productive lives.
Throughout May, we encourage Floridians to join our social media campaign, “Mind Your Mental Health Florida.” To raise awareness about mental health stigmas and the 2-1-1 helpline, post our sign to social media with #MindYourMentalHealthFL.
Linda McKinnon, CEO, Central Florida Behavioral Health Network, Tampa
Say so long to outdated ‘reefer’ laws
Are we to turn the clocks back to the 1950s and “reefer madness”? Or yield to the present and future, where prisoners with marijuana convictions are being released as improperly convicted given the present view on marijuana, where legalization is widespread, including in Florida with a doctor’s order.
Wake up and acknowledge the benign nature of cannabis and the trend toward legalization, rather than enforcing outdated marijuana laws. Shall we enforce the ancient no-kissing-in-public laws now, too?
Lizabeth McKibben, Venice