Failing grade for mental health

Most can’t comprehend why, if prison is such a deplorable place, that it isn’t deterrent enough to never risk being locked up again?

Editor, The News:

Re: Prisoners warehoused like dogs in a kennel (Letters, Jan. 6).

Huge kudos to Mark Lukyn for taking a proactive stance and providing an inside opinion to those of us on the outside.

Most of society can’t comprehend why, if prison is such a deplorable place, that it isn’t deterrent enough to never risk being locked up again?

It all comes back to the failing grade of the mental health system. If it can’t keep up with the demands for services for people who haven’t yet hit the judicial system, why would we think that the government would throw even more money at programs for those who have, in many cases, crossed the point of no return – or so  they are judged by many –  and reached the stage of incarceration?

In fact, many of us taxpayers wouldn’t want our government allotting tax dollars to that.

When Mr. Lukyn asks “what do we do,” referring to the lack of effective rehabilitation, my opinion is, speak up. Lobby the powers that be non-stop, regarding improving the mental health care system from its earliest stage programs – at-risk family supports and education, child and family services monitoring of children in at-risk situations, counselling for children and parents, interventions where needed, and in-depth programs that are practical and proven and delivered by trained professionals.

And for goodness sake, reverse the damage done from school counsellors  being cut back from the education system.

School is often the first place children are identified as being at-risk, and while referrals are made, there are far too few professional minutes allotted to those children who have already reached the high-needs threshold.

Every school I have worked in could easily utilize a full-time counsellor, who could have the potential to  prevent who knows how many from making it to the justice system, at the very least ease the trauma and anxiety for children in stressful situations.

Unfortunately, since we can’t put a number on how many these types of preventative initiatives might save, few will get behind it.

One way or the other, it’s costing us taxpayers big time.

So why not invest at the preventative stages in an attempt to keep our children from being affected by the criminal element, so to speak,  either by becoming it or becoming its victims.

Just an aside to  Mr. Lukyn, notwithstanding the  lack of quality programs, your letter indicates someone who is taking charge and responsibility for his future, despite what help is available.

Best wishes on your successful re-integration to society.

Arlyene Moberg

Maple Ridge