Faced with chance to help kids with mental illness, Golden Valley punts

If you want to see why mental health care is still a taboo subject in much of America, look no further than Golden Valley which this week was scared off by the notion that children in any community have mental health needs.

Faced with opposition from parents, apparently of healthy children, the City Council voted to deny an application for a day treatment facility on Pennsylvania Avenue to provide programs for children from 5 to 18.

Most parents who spoke said they want mental health care for children, they just don’t want it near them.

“It’s not a time to be PC. It’s a time to be concerned about the safety of our children, grandchildren, and everyone else,” said Gail Mann, as reported by Northwest Community Television’s 12TV News.

“Our extreme disappointment is not about a building, but more so of the offensive and inflammatory language used to describe our clients, children, which points to our community’s lack of understanding of children with mental illness,” CEO Traci Hackman told the TV station.

The comments by parents in Golden Valley mirror those of Woodbury residents several years ago, when a company proposed a location to provide services to people with Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Thomas Mercier

    And we wonder why the societal fabric is falling apart. And when I say society I mean others, not me. Because my NIMBY arguments are part of what is holding together the fallacy of normalcy in my life.

    • One of the things that’s always interesting to me in these sorts of hearings is the parents — especially the young parents — who just assume that their progeny aren’t the ones who might need a little assist in matters of mental health, that they’re the perfect ones.

      The woman who cried at the thought that her children might be “exposed” to someone with “emotional needs” was particularly illustrative of how we pass along our ignorance from generation to generation.

  • JBL

    The person who said she was afraid for her children forgets that kids with mental illness are in our community all the time. The only difference with this facility is that those kids are in a setting designed to meet their needs. She should be far more concerned about areas where kids with mental illness are untreated or unsupported. In that case, she should keep her kids away from school, and church, and the mall, and…well, pretty much everywhere else.

  • Ralphy

    Not so long ago, 2010, the good citizens of Orono confronted their city council about their concerns regarding a Emily Program eating disorder treatment facility being proposed for their fair community. Irrational fear is a powerful force. Even though the Orono Planning Commission unaminously approved the 10 bed facility, the Orono City Council denied the application when faced with a fearful and fear mongering group at the council meeting. Another sad and shameful piece of our NIMBY history, confirming that, besides protestions and lip-service to the contrary, we are on the whole a self-centered and selfish society.

    If you would like to get a feel for the meeting, you might find the Orono City Council meeting minutes of interest. http://docs.ci.orono.mn.us/CouncilPackets2010/CouncilMinutes2010/Council%20Minutes%2002-08-10-final.pdf

  • Viv Henry

    Hi Golden Valley citizens!

    I would like to suggest that some of you go to Stomp Out Stigma’s FREE event featuring 20yr old Mental Health Activist/Comic/Writer Kevin Breel on 3/21 @Forest Lake High School! He was a STAR athlete, HONOR Roll Student, etc in high school. He battles Depression, and almost took his own life several years ago. Well, he gave a brilliant Tedx talk in 2013 on battling Depression. Now, he’s touring around the world to Stomp Out Stigma, and even has a book deal.

    ~~With the proper mental health treatment + community support(which now includes the world), he is an inspiring mental health advocate! ~~

    Imagine, if given the chance…the opportunity…the proper mental health treatment, what those LifeSpan youth who battle/live with Mental Illnesses could do? Not only for our Twin Cities community but for the entire world?! Imagine that for a minute….open up your narrow minded, discriminating + stigmatizing minds and please let that sink in…

    P.S. Less than 5% of those battling/living with Mental Illnesses are violent….

  • Viv Henry

    All I gotta say is that NAMI-MN Executive Director Sue Abderholden is a fierce champion of those who are battling Mental Illnesses, especially Youth! I hope these “concerned” Golden Valley citizens pay attention to what she says. ~~And I hope that our local news stations will all be covering this press conference. I’m not a parent but I do know what Stigma feels like, and the ignorant, stigmatizing + discriminatory words coming out of these people sickens + angers me. My heart aches for these children battling Mental Illness and their parents/loved ones/caretakers!~~ #StigmaSucks
    Listen in via http://twelve.tv/news/newsitem.aspx?newsid=1477&newsitemid=23628