Ballots, Choices, and Stickers

     If you live in The United States and were old enough to vote, you may have felt like your ballot options, or lack thereof in some spots, may not have been good. Hold on to that feeling for a moment. Parents, spouses, caregivers, and individuals often experience this trying to find appropriate mental health services and treatment for loved ones. 

     There is very little actually available for most between acute hospitalization and sporadic outpatient services. Although there are some great programs, not everyone gets accepted-receiving help appears more competitive than applying for college. In many cases, it is more expensive. Not everyone has the extra 10 percent of gross income up to excess of $8000 PER month to pay. Many states, counties, schools, or other possible funding sources only work with the cheapest option, ones they have contracted with, or none at all. As everyone has different needs, this obviously leaves many folks in the dark. 

     Now, if you voted in a county like mine, that did not provide those coveted “I Voted” stickers, you probably felt a bit jipped. Fortunately, my polling place gave us stubs that we could still use at local places for things like free donuts or coffee. However, folks who really went for the freebies or sticker and got neither were disappointed. This is another common feeling for those trying to get appropriate treatment and help. 

     Imagine paying thousands you cannot afford in hopes to help your child who experienced significant trauma then seeing little to no progress from one of the very limited programs you could access. There is a multitude of families, not limited to the U.S., who sacrifice much and receive little visible results from programs they trusted to help. 

     Moving on to add insult to injury, let’s say that your friends, relatives, and random folks decide to hold you personally responsible for any mistakes made by the candidates for whom you voted. This is exactly what happens daily to people who get blamed for not being able to “fix” their loved one with the limited resources currently available. 

     Please be thankful that you only deal with these frustrations at election time. For many, it is a daily struggle that takes its toll on the entire family. 

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