I listened to the public hearing testimony of L.D. 1580 on Feb. 5, and I am reminded of our commitment to fellow citizens with mental health needs. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Aaron Frey, D-Bangor.

The purpose of the bill is to enact legislation that would make it possible to use Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center for forensic patients. Through the testimony, I learned that we have a huge gap between needs and services in the state of Maine. As a licensed social worker, I suggest that opposition should not be allowed without thought to common ground and collaboration.

Legislators should not kill the bill without an acceptable alternative. While I am sensitive to the reasons given that Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center currently is not appropriate for forensic patients because of security and staff training, I want my elected officials to start training for the next hurdles now instead of waiting for the next mental health tsunami.

The treatment of all Maine citizens is a reflection of all Maine citizens.

Bonnie ColeDixmont