Mental Health Facility Faces Cuts

POSTED: Thursday, July 15, 2010 - 5:56pm

UPDATED: Friday, July 16, 2010 - 9:14pm

El Paso -- El Paso Mental Health-Mental Retardation is facing a budget shortfall, again. The facility says state budget cuts will threaten some of the facility's services. While some patients say, they can't afford to see a stop in service, there are some who say the facility isn't worth saving.

Erlinda Estrada's 43 year-old daughter, Vanessa Ruiz, suffers from depression and type one diabetes. Earlier this year her diabetes was so bad, doctors had to amputate her leg. For the last five years Vanessa has been a patient of El Paso Mental Health-Mental Retardation. Her mother says the facility has only made Vanessa's condition worse. "Vanessa doesn't only need medication, she needs counseling. They would medicate to the point to where I call it stupid. She couldn't even function", states Estrada.

But, not every patient's story is the same as Vanessa's. George Marcelet has been a patient at M-H-M-R for over a decade and says he is happier then he's ever been. "I'm to the point where I can go forward. I'm going to go back to school to get my G.E.D. and maybe work in mental health as well."

However, Erlinda Estrada argues MHMR isn't living up to its reputation. "It's an organization that's supposed to help people, and I've heard it has helped some, but in Vanessa's case it hasn't helped her at all."

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u know what? The MHMR has helped me a lot to the point where I am able to function better than when I was without any help at all. I had no support from my parents who just thought I chose to be the way I am. I have bipolar disorder. The staff at EPMHMR have helped me a lot and they listen to me and make sure that I get the help I need. If people say that EPMHMR is not worth saving, think again! U have no idea how much mental illness can interfere with a person's life.

Medication is a treatment, not a cure. To say MHMR should close up shop because one mother says it didn't help her daughter is ridiculous. I've been going to MHMR for a decade and the one thing everyone should rememeber is that you are your own best advocate. I do all the reading and studying I can on my condition AND that along with help from doctors, social workers and counselors has kept me alive.

There is 2 sides to every story. I know that MHMR staff and employees are committed to providing the upmost care that individuals seek. As for Vanessa, we have to question that she and her mother followed the guidelines to treatment and really used all of the services that MHMR has to offer. I hope Vanessa will find some resolution to this matter.

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