Let’s Use Empathy
With the upcoming Nov. 2 municipal elections, I would like to focus attention on the $128,230 for outsourced contractual behavioral health services that were approved by Mayor Joseph Carfora, Board of Finance, and Town Council members for the 2021-’22 fiscal year. This is simply not enough. With a population estimate of 28,742, the breakdown math is $4.46/year for every woman, man, and child. That would be only $0.37/month per person or $0.01/day per person! This is a major oversight in helping our community.
One way to measure the ineffectiveness of this decision is to examine the volume of calls to public safety dispatchers and first responder services rendered. The call volume increased during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in February 2020, and has continued to remain very high, as shown by monthly reports of the Board of Police Commissioners available on the website. There have been multiple budget transfers in first responder departments, but not enough dialogue to decrease call volume and help residents.
East Haven Counseling Center was closed this year, and the clients referred to BHCare. Teletherapy services cannot treat every need or clients requesting group and in-person therapy services. The school-based health centers are not equipped to treat all of children behavioral health. In the 1980s, an attempt to rid behavioral services was reversed with public outcry. Our community is in need of resources to help with domestic abuse, substance abuse, outpatient treatments, and diagnosed psychiatric disorders. A physical location with behavioral health component is vital.
As an elector who splits my vote, I will advocate for the use of the American Rescue Act Plan federal funding for the greater good. Let’s use empathy to vote for candidates who care about senior citizens, families, and children.