“TIME TO REACH OUT,” is an article written by my friend Rebecca. Back on April 6th, I shared a blog about Rebecca and her Mom Claire. I am so proud of the “VOICE” she has become, as she continues to advocate for a purpose that directly affects her. She went from being so shy and quiet to an outspoken representative. She is not afraid to highlight her own life struggles to help others. For that I’d like to say, “Thank you, Rebecca!” The world we live in needs more people like you.
“I grew up in a middle class home. My dad was a college professor and my mom had a home-based medical transcription business so she could stay at home with my sister and me as we grew up. It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with a mental illness that I suddenly saw a lot of people with mental illness living in poverty. I attend some support groups at Valeo Behavioral Health Care, and that has helped me to see that people don’t choose poverty: they aren’t lazy.
So many people with mental illness experience homelessness or substandard living situations, and many lack access to health care and don’t possess health insurance or a car or even proper clothes. Due to symptoms they face, they often don’t have the motivation or emotional energy to take care of themselves. My family has been a huge support in my life, but many with brain disorders don’t have family support or encouragement.
Instead of making cuts to programs like the Low Income Energy Assistance Program, which helps folks pay for their utilities, or instead of making painful cuts to Medicaid, we need to be thinking of kind and helpful ways we can help those who have disabilities.
We need to look at folks in poverty with the eyes of Christ and think, “If I were a politician operating out of my faith, how would I help these vulnerable folks?” It’s easy to tell everyone to go get a job. It’s not so easy to reach out and help. However, that is what we must do. As Kansans, we must dare to reach out and help those in need. We must look past the symptoms of people’s illness or disability and offer a caring hand. After all, that is what a strong faith tells us to do. Let’s reach out today.”
REBECCA LYN PHILLIPS, Topeka