White smoke coming from Dix Hill

This is from an email I sent today to Rep. Jim Fulghum (R-Wake)
Sunday, March 31, 2013
White smoke coming from Dix Hill
An email I sent today to Rep. Jim Fulghum (R-Wake):

Rep. Fulghum,
You are obviously a thoughtful man, as evidenced by your letter-to-the-editor today. With all due respect, you may be missing some history, which I have had the opportunity to watch over my 20 years of lobbying in the NCGA.

Proper funding for mental health services has been an unattainable goal. We have seen many well-intentioned reforms of the reforms with only the patients being shortchanged. Over the years, the State of NC seemed only to respond to lawsuits in order to provide dollars.

If memory serves, among the only people who wanted Dix to close was former Rep. Jim Crawford from Oxford. Wake County legislators, local elected officials, mental health advocates and the public were vociferously opposed.

Wake County residents overwhelmingly filled the beds in Dix; so why move patients far away from their families? It was also fairly well known that the hospital in Butner was going to be too small before the ground was broken.

At the time, the town of Butner was represented by Mr. Crawford and he was one of the "big" appropriations chairs in the House. As witnessed in the current Legislature, the power of the majority is substantial and often not in the best interest of the people.

In my view, the sudden concern for mental health is, indeed, a smokescreen for the constant desire to delegitimate legal actions taken by former Gov. Bev Perdue.

As you heard last week, most residents of Wake County refuse to be played. I hope you will, too.
Be well,
Paula A. Wolf

- using BlogPress from my iPad
Posted by Paulatics at 11:23 AM


Thanks, Paula. My own letter

Thanks, Paula. My own letter sent last week to all members of the NC General Assembly's Wake Delegation and to the Governor's Office:

My own personal experience with mental problems has led me to speak today not of a park, but of a place for healing. My passion for this issue is the result of my desire to honor the Legacy of Dorothea Dix. Dix, like me, was an advocate, and her ideas for treating mental illness were years ahead of her time. Dix was a fighter who knew how to win over her opponents.

My name is Martha Brock. I am a person with disabilities. I am a long-time advocate for those with psychiatric disabilities, going back to 1988. I am a former Board Member of NC Mental Hope, a private non-profit, and I am a former lobbyist for Disability Rights NC. Today I sincerely wish I had Dix’s talent for persuasion.

Four years ago in June 2009, NC Mental Hope co-sponsored with NAMI NC a “Vigil for Compassion” at the Dorothea Dix Campus in Raleigh, and we invited all members of the NCGA to come and listen to our prayer for compassion for those with mental illness. Then, as now, this marginalized group desperately needed their legislators’ support for funding. We invited all legislators, but only one came. That was the invited speaker, Sen. Ellie Kinnaird of Chapel Hill.

The Gospel of Mark describes Jesus’ healing and casting out of demons. I ask you to put first as your first priority in decisions for the Dix Campus a place for healing of minds and bodies.

Few of you here know the story of why the legislature decided not to rebuild Dix Hospital on the Dix Campus, but instead to replace it with Central Regional in Butner. Fewer of you know of the excellence of the care that was available at Dix Hospital, which was not just a healing place, but an excellent teaching hospital. The rush to sign a lease in 2012 is just the last of a series of rushed and hidden decision-making involving the Dix Campus.

As Bobby Kennedy said in South Africa in 1966, “some men see things as they are and say 'Why'? I dream things that never were and say 'Why Not"?" I dream of a campus that continues the Dix Legacy, and one as a monument carefully and openly planned. Please do not disappoint us again.

This was sent last Sunday by email, and I expected to deliver these remarks to the Wake Delegation the following day. I only had two minutes to speak, however, and had to ad lib my comments for the Delegation.

One thing I need to point out is that while Wake Delegation members and leaders of the NC House and Senate committees on MH/DD/SAS professed to oppose the closing of Dix Hospital, in fact the Democratic legislature cut all funding to operate the Hospital about 3 years before it officially was closed. There was no money budgeted, so Secretary Cansler had to move money that should have gone to other DHHS services to keep the hospital operating.

Another thing I need to say is that while I am disappointed in the GOP leadership on the budget, there are several members of the NC House that are responsive to persons with psychiatric disabilities including me. I cannot say that about most of the Democrats, when they were in power.

Martha Brock