For those concerned about health care for the poor, including many disabled and elderly people, cuts in mental health funding and services, and cuts in housing especially for the mentally ill, I would suggest going to the national Web site of NAMI where there is a section called legislative action alerts. You can send an email to your members in Congress and to state elected officials on legislation affecting the poor and the mentally ill in particular. Another Web site that I have found to be somewhat informative in the same area of mental health and health care advocacy which also has legislative alerts is that of the Judge David Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, which is located in Washington, D.C. They have some position statements on the rights of the mentally ill, a group which has a high rate of poverty, unemployment, and homelessness. This is more important than ever with the ufair, ill-conceived budget cuts being proposed by the politicians in Washington. Americans often ignore health issues if they are not personally affected by them. Our educational system does in inadequate job of teaching students about science in general and about health in particular. In my state, we have an above-average number of smokers. If these people had some undestanding of the ill-effects of tobacco and if they were concerned with trying to preserve their health, they wouldn't have stated smoking or would try different treatments to stop.

The disabled in this country do not have strong lobbyists, and the mentally ill and developmentally disabled are not able to speak on their own behalf very easily and stand up to the policians and to prejudicial, uneducated Americans.


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