Leading from the Left

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

May Day! May Day!

Well, today is May 1st. I'd like to paraphrase a speech I heard today by Rep. Susan Fisher of Asheville:

"May Day. We often think of May Day as a quaint tradition that involves flowers, dancing and a pole. May Day can also be a distress signal. An SOS that's sent out when someone or something is in trouble."

Rep. Fisher was speaking of North Carolina's current sex education policy, which requires abstinence-only education and leaves our children with too little knowledge about sex. She contends that this lack of knowledge leads to teen pregnancy, HIV infection, and so forth.

I think Rep. Fisher's analogy could also apply just as easily to North Carolina's mental health system. Seven years of reform have devastated the mental health system in our state. It is in distress.

The leaders of the reform effort may have meant well, but things have not been working out as intended. It's time--past time--to take a good hard look at what went wrong, how it can be fixed, and who is best positioned to fix it. This month I will be blogging about mental health, but tomorrow I will lead off with a guest post by Mark Sullivan, the Executive Director of the Mental Health Association of Orange County.