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Letters to the Editor 10-26-2002

Explains what Shady Acres is all about

Dear Editor:

This letter is written to inform the public about the truth of mental illness and Shady Acres, a long term Residential Care Home. This private, nonprofit organization was formed after two years of investigating the need for this type home in our area. To date, there are 848 consumers of the Mental Health System in Covington County alone, who have been diagnosed with mental illness. A large percentage of these individuals need us and will benefit from our service.

We can provide our services, not only to Covington County, but also to Coffee, Crenshaw and Butler counties. Although the Mental Health Centers, Transition Homes, and families of this population do the best they can, often it is not enough. Shady Acres Residential Care Home can be, and will be a tremendous asset to these people falling through the "cracks" in society, and only Shady Acres can do so much. We need more homes of this type in our counties.

Many of our loved ones in our local communities are being sent out of state, to receive this service; this is not right! We should take care of our local citizens and keep them at home. Why should families have to travel to other states to visit their love ones? Should we not be responsible for our own? Those trained in the Mental Health field agree that people with these type illnesses need a peaceful, serene environment. Shady Acres is such a place out in the country in the beautiful area of Straughn. It is my hope that some of our neighbors will try to educate themselves about mental illness, and how it affects others.

The mentally ill are our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, and children. Please do not push them away, but rather embrace them. After all, they are people too!

For more information about Shady Acres and mental illness, contact your local Mental Health Centers, or ask a neighbor who has someone suffering from this disability. With proper treatment, mental illness is a manageable disease.

Adopting the attitude "Let's not allow them to live here" is a violation of their "human rights", and against the foundation of "freedom" and more importantly, the Word of God.

Shady Acres is an organization dedicated to providing a safe, structured environment to its residents and to the community. We hope to educate the residents and the community about mental illness. Please open your hearts to us by understanding, or join our volunteer program to help provide many needed services to our residents.

With your help, we can all make difference.

Noah Ard