Change in mental health system is needed, Centre County DA says
Grandson’s suicide was result of ‘safety net system that failed’
On May 4, my 29-year-old grandson Josh took his own life. Josh had a good and kind heart, but that heart was trapped inside a dark and confused mind. His addictions led him to a state of “drug induced schizophrenia.” What follows is a story of a safety net system that failed.
His last episode began about 3 a.m. May 4 with an encounter with local police officers; his next was about 8 a.m. at my home, where he was convinced bad people were out to kill him. Local police then took him to the hospital. During this time at the hospital his mother pleaded with hospital staff to keep him there, to no avail; he then made his way to a local gym where local police found him and again his mother pleaded with them to take him back to the hospital, again to no avail. A couple hours later he was dead by his own hand.
This failure to take action was NOT the fault of police or medical staff but instead is the fault of a safety net system that limits their ability to intervene when it’s needed. District Attorney Bernie Cantorna and state police Sgt. William Slaton got it right in the May 9 Centre Daily Times front page article referencing the mental health system’s limitations. I commend Cantorna’s suggestion of forming a task force made up of professionals and concerned citizens to search for solutions. Yes that’s the slow way, but good changes never happen fast.
Trees should be preserved in Ferguson Township
I felt sad after leaving the Ferguson Township meeting on May 6. That sadness was punctuated by news about current and projected human caused mass extinctions. Developers are seeking approval for housing and commercial space from Ferguson Township supervisors. Developers have already begun to build. They plan on cutting 53 additional acres of trees (equivalent to about 40 football fields), sparing nine acres of trees that would be spread across a narrow band next to the development. The removal of this forest represents the toll, acre by acre, humans are having on the planet.
I mourn the loss of this beautiful canopy of trees composed of red and white oak, sugar and red maple, black cherry, and Eastern white pine that provide homes and food to birds and woodland animals. Plus, one might undervalue the forest because it does things we do not see. The forest filters groundwater contributing to our drinking water, contributes to healthy soils with the accumulated leaves, seeds, wood, and twigs on the forest floor, absorbs climate change causing CO2, stores carbon in itself and in the soil, and, during photosynthesis, produces oxygen that we breath.
A proposal was made to preserve an equivalent of about 40 acres of trees with this remaining portion of the forest strategically retained to be better for the forest and those living in it. Please look for and attend an upcoming open meeting where the public can learn more about these options and to voice your opinion.
Thank you to all who helped after fall
We want to thank all the people who came to rescue Barry Fisher where he fell on the curb outside the Subway on South Atherton Street in State College on May 4.
Thank you to the four people who were there beside him moments after the fall — one who phoned 911 and three who cared for him — you saved his life.
Thank you to the police and the ambulance people, all Good Samaritans. We will always be thankful for your special care.