Commentary...Terri Lee Freeman | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

: News

Commentary...Terri Lee Freeman

Play associated audio

For more information, visit www.thecommunityfoundation.org.

Losing a job, facing foreclosure or not being able to afford prescriptions can be overwhelming, even life-threatening.

That’s why commentator Terri Lee Freeman says it’s important to consider the mental health and well being of our region’s most vulnerable individuals and families.

Freeman is president of The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region.

What do you think? Tell us at Conversation dot WAMU,org. Click on "Commentary Forum"

SCRIPT:

If you are like me, you might be planning vacation. We work hard all year, juggling work, family and other demands. Vacation provides much-needed time to decompress and rejuvenate.

But this year, as I pack my bags, I am particularly mindful that vacation in these times is a luxury that many in our region can’t afford.

The economic crisis continues to pose major challenges to our region’s families and nonprofit organizations. In addition to the need for food, shelter and clothing, we can’t overlook the psychological impact of losing one’s livelihood, home or health insurance, not to mention the emotional toll of the economic crisis on those who didn’t have homes or jobs to begin with.

With that in mind, The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region recently awarded grants, through its Neighbors in Need Fund, in support of mental health programs throughout the region.

Since the recession began, more people, including the “new poor,” have been showing up at community health clinics, many without health insurance and many in need of mental health services. Non-profits have been reporting alarming trends, such as an increase in substance abuse, domestic violence and the number of calls to local suicide hotlines.

Community Foundation grants have helped organizations serve uninsured residents, provide culturally and linguistically appropriate mental health services, extend clinic hours and restore staff positions that had been cut. They have also provided mental health services to homeless individuals and families, reached underserved neighborhoods in Southeast Washington and Prince George’s County, supported mental health services for Latino families and provided access to prescriptions.

There’s a saying, says Satira Streeter, the only licensed clinical psychologist in Ward 8, “When rich people catch a cold, poor folk catch pneumonia." Well, we’re definitely seeing pneumonia.

Yet, Dr. Streeter adds, “By recognizing that good mental health care is a necessity and not an option, The Community Foundation is truly helping our neighbors in need rebuild their lives and their families.”

As you plan your vacation, I encourage you to consider your neighbors and join me in ensuring the well being of all our residents.

I’m Terri Lee Freeman

NPR

Rod McKuen, The Cheeseburger To Poetry's Haute Cuisine

Poet Rod McKuen was loved by millions but mocked by literary critics. He died this week at age 81.
NPR

Shake Shack Sizzles With IPO As McDonald's Fizzles

Shares of the burger chain shot up Friday, its first trading day. Shake Shack and other fast-casual joints are taking a bite out of McDonald's, which can't recast itself to fit the current trend.
NPR

What Romney's Retreat Means For GOP Hopefuls

NPR's Scott Simon speaks with senior Washington editor Ron Elving about the narrowing Republican presidential field for 2016 and what we've seen so far in the first month of the new Congress.
NPR

The Infinite Whiteness Of Public Radio Voices

The hashtag #publicradiovoices, about the "whiteness" of public radio, trended on Twitter this week. NPR's Scott Simon speaks with Gene Demby of NPR's Code Switch team about the conversation.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.