Those who struggle with mental health issues shouldn’t be left behind.

In 2019 I was diagnosed with schizophrenia. I lost my job, my home, my car. I ended up living on the streets for a few months. I used to be a very hard-working man, and my employers were happy with my work as a machine operator. But once I became ill, they abandoned me.

American society values people when they can work. If people are sick they can’t be productive, so it’s important that at the very least we offer them treatment. I lost everything when I got sick, and I don’t want other people to experience the same thing.

There should be emergency funds for those who struggle with mental health issues. In her budget, Gov. Janet Mills has proposed investing in crisis receiving centers where people experiencing mental health emergencies can get immediate medical help at no cost. We also need programs to help people with food and other items, housing, and expenses so they can survive.

I hope all programs will be available to Mainers, regardless of where they were born or their immigration status. Right now I am not eligible for full MaineCare coverage, and I am struggling to afford the medications that allow me to live and work.

What is also important is that the larger society helps people in trouble. For example, when churches come together they can do big things. When wealthy people pay their fair share, everyone can enjoy good health.

Filipe Menezes, Lewiston

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