Hope, and the writings of Peggy Symons
Hope, and the writings of Peggy Symons

March 9th 2015


The civil rights marches through Selma, Alabama are a testimony to the power of freedom as well as a reminder of the timeless significance of the fight for equal rights.

Discrimination is real; it continues to diminish our humanity everywhere it engages in the course of human conduct.

The Selma marches were fifty years ago, but they will not be finished until the intrinsic worth of every person is recognized and honored.

Peggy J. Symons







 A focus on school safety, mental health

USA TODAY (Arlington, VA) - Friday, April 5, 2013
For many people, the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary
School in Newtown, Conn., ripped the shadows of indifference off the face of
mental illness in America and exposed a fractured and utterly failed mental
heath system.

The eyes of the nation should be riveted on the consequences.

In 2010, suicides outnumbered traffic fatalities, and chronic homelessness haunts our streets. One in five families is affected by mental illness.

A high-profile push for access to vital psychiatric
services rippled out of the first aftershocks of the Newtown massacre, but
momentum is quickly slipping away, eclipsed by the gun-control debate.

Time is ticking; we must create a funded and functioning system of
psychiatric services for our most desperately ill. If not now, when?

Peggy J. Symons   Deland, Fla.

Copyright 2013 Gannett Co., Inc.
All rights reserved.


 Consequences of cutting services for mentally ill


  USA TODAY (Arlington, VA) 


- Tuesday, August 23, 2011


TODAY's story on the mentally ill drifter who died after being beaten by
California police should be a clarion call about the way we treat our mentally
ill ("Schizophrenic drifter's death sparks protests," News, Aug. 15).

People forced into homelessness, jails, jammed emergency rooms and
suicide have defined our response to mental illnesses for decades. Taxpayers
have paid dearly for this neglect with billions of dollars in avoidable costs.
Deficits are driving deep cuts in mental health spending in many states.
However, the intruding reality remains that slashing access to psychiatric
services and medication is a budget-wrecking boomerang.

Funding effective treatment for severe mental illnesses is far less expensive than paying the catastrophic costs associated with untreated mental illnesses.

Until these disorders of the brain are considered worthy of treatment,
the cost overruns of neglect will continue to rob taxpayers like pickpockets
with hidden hands.

Peggy J.Symons   Deland, Florida



Dispel Stigma Of Mental Illness

USA TODAY (Arlington, VA)
- Friday, July 30, 2010  


Dispel stigma of mental illness

USA TODAY's front page focus on the heavy toll
of mental illnesses in our armed forces has opened the door to visit the impact of mental illness in America more broadly ("Mental illness costing military soldiers," News, July 23).

These treatable conditions are not confined to the military. They are common; one in five families is affected. Yet stigma,
stereotypes and discrimination characterize our response to these disorders of the brain.

Primary care for mental illnesses often isn't psychological.
It's jailing, emergency room treatment, homelessness and suicide. Every life
lost in this assembly of suffering should be counted as a page in a manual
written for change.

Until there is an upheaval of the status quo, the
honor of our nation will continue to disappear, eroded by the way we treat our mentally ill.

Peggy J.Symons                                                                                     

Deland, Florida




Vote To Improve Mental Health System

USA TODAY (Arlington, VA)
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
USA TODAY'S story has lifted the lid off of a national scandal. Access to appropriate psychiatric services and modern medications is crumbling across America ("Mentally ill wait unduly long in ER," News, June 17).

By default, emergency rooms and law enforcement agencies have become the first responders to the psychiatric casualties of a broken and failed mental health system. The current speed and sweep of state and federal health care cuts have created an even more powerful undertow of disappearing psychiatric services and lost lives.

America is rolling toward the elections of 2008. Now is the time when our votes have the reach and power to establish new treatment priorities, focused funding and the dedicated research that will bring the suffering caused by these treatable disorders of the brain to an end.

Peggy J. Symons Deland, Fla.
Copyright 2008 Gannett Co., Inc. All rights reserved

Lack of communication was biggest mistake at Va. Tech

USA TODAY (Arlington, VA)
Thursday, September 6, 2007


Be careful in generalizing

The connection between mental illness and
violence was the centerpiece of USA TODAY's article on the red flags that
preceded the Virginia Tech massacre ("Report details red flags preceding Tech
tragedy," News, Aug. 30).

Without counterbalancing information, however,
it would be easy to sweep people who are living with mental illnesses into a
collective identity, which is made of the myth that they are categorically

It is important to note that suicide cuts many more lives short
than any other act of violence caused by mental illnesses.

We must not stigmatize people who are struggling with the disorders of the brain that cause severe mental illnesses. They are among the most courageous people on earth.

Peggy J.Symons
Deland, Fla.



Health care costs, cures spark debate

USA TODAY (Arlington, VA)
- Friday, October 20, 2006




Drugs worth the cost

"Antipsychotics little help for Alzheimer's sufferers"
has added one more tangent to the growing controversy over the use of
antipsychotics. As the debate widens, the voices of those of us who are taking these medications must be heard and considered (News, Oct. 12).

There are now many people rising from the rubble and ruin of severe mental illnesses into restored lives on the new antipsychotic medicines. Before these remarkable drugs came into use in the 1990s, few of us ever escaped the biological locks and shackles of these dismal disorders of the brain. Nonetheless, recent media focus on antipsychotic medicines has repeatedly cast them in a negative light.
As controversial and incomplete information on these medications is
making its way into mainstream America, a deepening danger is flying in under the radar. High profile confusion over antipsychotic drugs is a looming license and an open door for government payers to start slashing their costs by restricting or denying access to medicines that are saving many lives.

Yes, the new medicines are expensive, but for people like me they are
still far less expensive than the costs of losing our lives in jails and crisis
wards or to suicide.

Peggy J.Symons
Deland, Fla



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