Media coverage can be very inflammatory regarding mental health issues. I refer to John Peschong’s Viewpoint “Templeton has spoken” (June 28).
Those most vocal against the behavioral health hospital is the Templeton Area Advisory Group. Of the 5,500-plus registered voters in Templeton, only 63 attended in March for the TAAG elections. He cites town hall meetings with 100 to 300 participating.
Obviously, this is not a majority representation of Templeton residents. He uses fear tactics to intimidate and influence; e.g.: the threat to public safety.
Let’s not demean ourselves by fostering stigma. Those who seek psychiatric help rarely pose a threat to anyone’s safety. A diagnosis of schizophrenia, ADHD or having suicidal thoughts does not predispose one to violence. Those who are assessed as being of harm to themselves or others will be referred to the county psychiatric health unit in San Luis Obispo and not admitted to this facility. Your neighbor who is a little “peculiar” — a loved one with severe depression, a traumatized crime victim — these are the patients requiring assistance. They will be community members, just like you and me, insured and voluntarily seeking admission.
Any one of us may find this a needed resource. Let’s hope the help is there.