Advocacy: My Letter To Senator Guy Reschenthaler(R-PA)

Severe mental illnessAdvocacy is powerful.

If you could write your Senator about the implementation of better mental health protocols would you?

What would you say? What would your heart tell you to say?

Well, I have an opportunity for you with an example letter of mine that I recently sent. Please join me in advocating for those with severe mental illness. 

When it comes to advocating and/or speaking up about those who aren’t able to do so themselves a lot of people lend freely. They support each other and encourage one another. They march, they write letters, and they raise money. But for those legal bills created for the protection of those with severe mental illness, most people stay silent. Why?

One reason may be because there is a general lack of knowledge about what severe mental illness looks like. There is also a general lack of responsibility when it comes to supporting those with severe mental illness. Part of this is the result of stigmatized views of what severe mental illness is.

What is severe mental illness?


Severe mental illness often includes “resistant symptoms” that interfere with functionality within the home, school, and community.

You may observe a person struggling with making sense out of their reality, having delusions or hallucinations, struggling with substance abuse and mental illness, or not being able to maintain a job and stable housing. It is often resistant, poorly treated with traditional methods, and sensitive to environmental or emotional challenges. Severe mental illness also affects inmates and the homeless. We need to change this. If they can’t advocate for themselves, we need to do it for them.


My Letter

Hi, I am a Pennsylvania licensed and nationally certified therapist. I have 10 years experience working with children, adolescents, parents, and families. I have seen my fair share of severe mental illness, even among children as young as 5. At this time, I am working with a very disturbed 5-year old which is something I never thought I would have to face.

When we think of 5-year-olds, we think of free-spirited and happy children. We don’t ever think of a 5-year-old needing to be hospitalized against his will because he can’t control his body, his aggression, and his homicidal statements toward his mother.

It wasn’t until I began to work with very disturbed youths, about 5 years ago, that I realized we need to do something. And do something fast.

What we desperately need!

I am writing about mental health legislation offered by Senator Greenleaf, SB599, and the companion bill by Representative Murt, HB 1233, which has already passed the House with unanimous support.

These bills would provide people with untreated serious mental illness with necessary care and services in the community before they become a danger to themselves or others. These bills would also help reduce psychiatric hospitalizations and help decriminalize mental illness.

It is important that these bills become law in Pennsylvania to improve health outcomes of people with serious mental illness and to provide a critical safety net – one which is already available in almost every other state – for people who are too sick to seek services for themselves.

Thank you for your support in bringing these bills across the finish line.