I have a long-standing interest in mental health issues for Maine, which dates back to the mid-1980s when I worked in staff development and oversaw the audio/video facility at the Augusta Mental Health Institute.

As an at-large, Augusta city councilor, in 1996, I joined John Jenkins, mayor of Lewiston and Jack Dawson, mayor of Portland, in Washington, D.C., to advocate for more national attention for mental health with then-U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe.

That same year, I was chairwoman of the Community and Social Service Task Force for Augusta. The committee’s mission was to study the gaps and overlaps in the community and the social service system. This work was followed by another committee, named A Call to Action, from 2000 through 2002.

Recently, I contacted Augusta Mayor William Stokes and suggested that a new task force on mental health be established. Last year, I had an opportunity from a personal view as a family member to have a serious look at Maine’s mental health system. I did not like what I saw. I personally think the system is broken.

It was with much interest that I read the recent article in the newspaper about the potential $2.3 million hole at Riverview. I believe it is imperative that the 126th Legislature provide sufficient money for the much-needed services for the mentally ill.

Mary D. Mayo-Wescott


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