Legislators must fund suicide crisis services
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. As a volunteer and advocate with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, this month I am asking everyone to join us and demand #MoreForMentalHealth.
As a father, I know the pain of loss. I lost my son Devon to suicide in 2017. I have been on a journey to ensure that no other parent has to suffer the pain and grief that I have. My youngest son has had his own battle with mental health and at one point had to access mental health services. He did not know where to turn for services/resources and even was told the wait for services was about 90 days. This is unacceptable!
On July 16, those in distress and those that support them will be able to reach the Lifeline through a simple 3-digit number: 988. By making the Lifeline more accessible through this shorter number, calls, texts and chats to the Lifeline’s network of crisis call centers are expected to increase. It is vital that the federal government work with states to ensure callers in distress will have: 1) someone to call, 2) someone to come help, and 3) somewhere safe to go. We must act NOW to secure funding to equip call centers and community crisis response services throughout the country with the staff and resources to respond to everyone in crisis.
Join me this month in urging our federal and state public officials to do #MoreForMentalHealth. You can start by visiting moreformentalhealth.org.
Together, we can help #StopSuicide.
Providence represents loss for Spokane
I was glad for Steven McNutt’s April 29 letter regarding Providence Health & Service’s hypocrisy that pretends to offer “God’s healing love to the poor and vulnerable.” Providence needs to be exposed for what it truly is: an out-of-control corporate behemoth that preys on vulnerable patients and employees alike, maximizing “margins” to line the pockets of an ever-growing, undeserving cadre of multimillion-dollar executives at the direct expense of tens of thousands of people who can’t afford the lifesaving care that formerly, under the Sisters of Providence, was truly “served to all.”
Violations of the Charity Care Act, fraudulent billing practices, and concealing malpractice, all need to be highlighted, but those are merely a few situations where PH&S has been caught. Having worked for Providence under both Sister Peter Claver and the corporatized takeover, I can attest that today’s Providence represents a HUGE loss for Spokane.
I spent two years before retiring calling different customer service reps who fabricated nonsensical reasons why my employer 403(b) matches were correct. Only after compiling all my records for the retirement director, did they agree to pay the $3,008.26 they owed me in back matches and interest. Certainly, there are thousands of other employees who were unknowingly fleeced the same way. Remember the $351.9 million class action settlement Providence paid in 2016 over its employee pension plan? Two brave nurses sued after Providence claimed exemptions as a church! And don’t forget the three-day strike at Providence Swedish or the last excruciating contract negotiations at SHMC!
Remember the truth
I am a 70-year-old woman who remembers the days before abortion was legal in this country.
I remember a dear girlfriend telling me she was off to get an illegal abortion. I remember never hearing from her again.
I remember headlines of women dying from perforated uteruses and poisoning because they attempted self-induced abortions.
And I remember a pregnant rape victim whose family doctor performed a safe, but still illegal abortion because her mother was insistent the 16-year-old not be forced to quit school to carry the pregnancy to term.
Those times are returning to a majority of the states in this country.
Just as before, the people who will suffer are mostly women – poor women with already living children, young women not ready to be mothers, older women who don’t think they can become pregnant, girl-women raped or groomed by a relative or family friend, women disproportionately BIPOC.
And, just as before, women with money will have access to safe, legal abortion services no matter how far they have to travel.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers does not want her constituents to know the truth about what this return to the bad old days means for women. She lies on her website statement – using the anti-choice, minority-rule slams against the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2021, while bemoaning the leak of the SCOTUS draft opinion that will return women to coat hangers and bleach.
I remember the truth.
Leaked Supreme Court draft opinion
The blame for the Supreme Court’s draft abortion ruling that would destroy women’s privacy rights is clear. It lies with Sen. Mitch McConnell, who denied President Obama his choice of Merrick Garland; blatant lies from two Trump nominees, Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, who asserted under oath that Roe was a settled right; and Trump’s nomination of “Handmaid” Amy Coney Barrett weeks before he lost the November 2020 election.
The Roe reversal, if it stands, will be the final straw that destroys the court’s legitimacy, turning it into a corrupted GOP subsidiary.
Due to recent “trigger laws” poised to take effect if Roe is reversed, Washington state is already expecting a 300% increase in abortion seekers. They will be refugees from states like Idaho, whose vicious trigger law would force a raped 12-year-old to carry her fetus to term – allowing the rapist’s family to sue if she tries to end her pregnancy.
I am a mother of two well-loved daughters. I have teenage grandchildren, including a granddaughter in college. I fear for their futures in a post-Roe world. I am also among the 70% of Americans who support Roe’s balancing of the privacy rights of women with the state’s interest in human life at viability.
The 2022 midterms will be a referendum on Roe. Republicans cannot be allowed to control the House and Senate and pass a nationwide abortion ban. We cannot regress with the first rollback of a constitutional right in our nation’s history.
Karen Dorn Steele
Women! The government has made it very difficult to take control over your own body and your sexual health. While men go unfettered, women face life-altering consequences should they become pregnant.
Men have always had the ability to walk away from unwanted parenthood. Women’s reproductive health has taken severe hits lately and will continue to do so until men are required to step up and take responsibility as well.
The solution is simple. It’s no longer worth having sex with men because the risk is too great. Let the men take care of themselves. Women have always been the one to go through life-altering changes and if women have no choice in their situation, then the answer is to not be in that situation at all.
So guys, it’s going to be a different world for you. I hope you don’t mind what you asked for, because women certainly didn’t want this!
Change men’s minds
If Roe v. Wade is overturned (it is slightly amusing that the justices are relying on the Constitution which didn’t regard women at all), then women have a choice: “Guess what, darling, we’re not having sex,” or “You want sex, have a vasectomy.” I’m sure that might change a lot of male minds.
The future for women
It seems that the Supreme Court has decided that women are not people, so we cannot be allowed the freedom to manage our own health that men have. It seems that the court is now the Supreme Christian Court, so clearly the Constitution’s “religious freedom” is meant only for Christians.
I am not surprised, really. Freedom of religion was never something that the “Founders” really cared about, clearly, or we would not have to fear Christian demands that they and only they have rights to that freedom.
It seems that women can be killed to save an “unborn.” Perhaps Christians should look at Genesis, in which it is said quite clearly that “the span of life is first breath to last breath.”
Look forward to burning at the stake soon. They did it before and I doubt that they won’t do it again. The “Founders” were all men and women were nothing. Welcome to the past. For many women, there will be no future.
Spokane’s homeless population
The city of Spokane wants to be great, but greatness cannot be achieved unless something is done to solve the homeless issue in this town. Prosperity doesn’t mean tall buildings or fancy restaurants, rather it refers to wisdom, joy and community.
A team is only as strong as its weakest player, and as a team all playing on the same field, we should be working harder to uplift the people in Spokane who are less fortunate. They need our love and support. There are hundreds living on the streets of this city, and we can’t hope to improve unless something is done.
There are so many aspects that impact the lives of those who don’t have a job, home or other things that dub one “successful,” and often, they are the ones with the most heart-wrenching stories. If I were in a position where I was an outcast, I would want to be heard, to be listened to. I’d want someone to advocate for me, or even better, provide the means by which I could advocate for myself. With so many on the streets, how can we hope for Spokane to be anything more than every other city in the United States? This should be a place where trash doesn’t line the sidewalks, where amazing opportunities are multitudinous, and where those who live within our borders not only take care of themselves but also each other.
The Parental Rights in Education Bill and its effect on LGBTQ students
Children deserve to feel safe and supported in an educational environment, regardless of their identity or sexual orientation. The Parental Rights in Education Bill, signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in late March, interferes with this needed acceptance and overall understanding of LGBTQ members in an educational setting.
Those supporting the ban on conversation of orientation in schools claim it is an “anti-grooming bill” and that the topic itself is developmentally inappropriate for children in kindergarten through fifth grade. But education early on regarding gay, bisexual and transgender identities does not, and should not, include talk about sex at all. It is merely an introduction to those that are a minority in our society, but are normal and deserve respect nonetheless. Encouraging banning conversations in what should be seen as an inclusive, progressive environment where children can learn and be whomever they want to be, may end up encouraging bullying, as children will grow up without the knowledge of differences amongst their peers. This matters especially if heterosexual norms are often discussed, like when a couple kisses in a children’s movie, or a teacher talks about her husband.
Thetrevorproject.org estimates that 712,990 LGBTQ youth, ages 13-24, attempted suicide in the past year, and it is obvious that this is caused by negative stigma and lack of support from parents or teachers, which could be given much sooner. It is not indoctrination or abuse to make our youth feel accepted in their own skin.
Spring is lovely in Spokane. I want to thank our community members who alone, in groups, with partners and everyone else who take the time to pick up litter. I’ve even seen homeless folks trying to do the same. Our county’s numerous incarcerated crews also do a fantastic job. One of the sweet truths of Spokane is our very real community of caring folks.
Here are a few pointers that may also help. If you drive a pickup, please don’t assume that the trash that gets thrown in your bed will stay there. It often blows out on windy days or driving on a curve. If you deliver supplies to homeless folks, include a black trash bag. When you go hiking, include a trash bag and a pair of gloves in your backpack. Washable ones are the best, so when you return home, just dump the trash and wash your gloves and bag. Businesses can also help by looking around at their location. For example, does the vacant lot next to you have some litter that you or your employees can pick up?
If you live in a neighborhood with a vacant lot or a street park, can you take a little time to help keep it clean.
If we keep things tidy, fewer folks will think it’s OK to mess things up. Thanks again, everyone, for doing your part and more.
Spring has sprung and I’m ever so grateful.
VA health care problems
In James Alto’s letter to the editor (May 2) he ends it with, “Biden would be proud of this nonworking mess,” implying that President Biden is somehow responsible for this fiasco. Alto can look as far back as President Trump. It was during Trump’s presidency that the VA entered into a no-bid $16 billion contract with Cerner for this system. Anyone with any knowledge of federal government contracting would know that a contract this large must be put out for competitive bids. When I worked for the VA, we had a small contract worth a few thousand dollars that was subjected to a competitive bidding process.
Perhaps we should be looking into who, in Trump’s world, benefited by this no-bid contract.