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posted: 6/12/2013 5:00 AM

Support housing for mentally ill

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Since 1949, May has been National Mental Health Awareness month and, more recently, July has been National Minority Mental Health Awareness month. Sandwiched in between is June, which is the time to advocate for all people with disabilities including mental illness, as proposed supportive housing under consideration in Palatine. And, as one out of four Americans suffers from a mental illness, perhaps every month should draw attention to the stigmatized members of our greater society and certainly in our local community who are challenged with the stress of daily living and survival.

Organizations such as the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI.org) work tirelessly to educate the public about the realities facing those among us. Local NAMI members are championing the cause of people with mental illness by working to provide publicly supported housing for those desperately seeking shelter. There are many who say "not in my backyard," perhaps without recognizing that members of their own families may be suffering from mental illness.

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Fortunately, there are those who support proposed housing specifically designed for the needs of the mentally ill and others with disabilities. The project, Catherine Alice Gardens, at 345 Eric Drive in Palatine, needs our support. The building will contain 33 units, and services will be provided by Alexian Brothers Center for Mental Health. Won't you join me in advocating for the needs of those with mental illness by lending your vocal support to this proposed project in Palatine through both letter writing to Palatine council members and attendance at the June 18 meeting of the plan commission? Let us support housing for everyone. We never know who may benefit from an educated, open mind determined to help others through effective action. You can make a difference.

Pamela Olander

Palatine

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