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Mental Illness Awareness Week, Obamacare and more in Tuesday's Forum

Staff Report • Oct 15, 2013 at 8:50 AM

Mental Illness Awareness Week is Oct. 6-12, and is an important opportunity to learn more about mental illnesses such as major depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders and schizophrenia. The National Alliance on Mental Illness is a volunteer, nonprofit, self-help organization that offers support, education and information to families who deal with mental illness.NAMI Johnson City, one of the largest and most active affiliates in Tennessee, invites anyone interested to join us on the second Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. at Harrison Christian Church, located at 2517 Browns Mill Road. NAMI offers friends who care and understand, a place to share resources and ideas that help you take care of yourself and loved ones with mental illness, a chance to share your experiences and learn from one another and a chance to find opportunities to advocate for changes in our mental health system.Mental illness can affect anyone, regardless of race, age, gender or intelligence and affects one out of four adults. Fortunately, recovery is possible. Treatment works, but only if a person seeks it and can get it. The U.S. Surgeon General has reported that stigma is a major barrier to people seeking help when they need it. All of the major shootings across our nation have been attributed to people falling through the cracks and not receiving treatment.The more people know, the better they can help themselves, loved ones and friends. Fact sheets about specific diagnoses and treatment options are available from NAMI at www.nami.org. Browse them and share with family and friends. Call 282-0676 for more information about NAMI, affiliate meetings or free education classes. SHERRY FALKNER Johnson CityObamacare a bad lawOn Oct. 7, as the Democrats in the Senate refused to accept the continuing resolution passed by the House, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid lashed out at conservatives and tea party Republicans and said: “With a bully, you cannot let them slap you around because today they slap you five or six times, tomorrow it’s seven or eight times. We are not going to be bullied.”This is the same Reid who continually asserts that the tea party is comprised of “anarchists” who want to destroy the government. So, with such absurd characterizations, it seems Reid’s go-to-position when challenged is to lash out and call names.Reid also questioned why Republicans are “fixated” on Obamacare. Forgetting that nearly every projection finds Obamacare wildly economically unsustainable and disastrous, Reid still wondered why Republicans weren’t knuckling-under to allow the government to fund it.“They are closing down the government. I don’t know what in the world is wrong with them, why they’re fixated on this Obamacare. It is the law,” Reid said.While it’s important to note that an important function of government is to pass laws, another important function of government is to remove bad laws. Since the formation of our nation, bad laws have sprung up from time to time and it has been the duty of principled lawmakers to destroy laws that have an adverse effect on the American people.It sure would be more convenient for Reid and other Democrats if Republicans just always nodded along and did as they were told, but that’s not their job.Conservatives are working against Obamacare because it challenges the health, well-being and financial situation of millions of Americans. It may be the law, but it is a bad law and it is the right and responsibility of those with principles to do whatever they can to spare the American people from this train wreck.ROBERT HOUSEGrayServe othersI recall many months ago when the federal government threatened to shut down once before. Of course, that threat never came to fruition, but a thought came to my mind then, as it does now, about what our response as citizens of this land ought to be.The dearth in public services caused by the current lapse in funding provides an excellent opportunity for charitable federal employees, and also the church broadly, to put a brave foot forward and do good where there is no expectation for profit.One of the truths that this nation, and particularly her leadership, has abandoned is that men and women’s labors — not financial assets — are the factors of production in the market of goods and services. If we in this blessed nation would once again realize that the life of our economy rests in our people, and not in our dollars, we would realize very soon afterwards that a shortage of checks and transfer payments means nothing in the face of our willingness to serve and to sacrifice for the good of one another in steadfast love.JOHN W. BLACKBURNJohnson City

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