As a concerned citizen and community mental health volunteer, I am all too familiar with the limitations of the mental health system in Maine and across the nation.

The good news is that we are making great strides in every area – from building awareness, breaking down barriers and coordinating care – toward destigmatizing the many shapes and sizes of mental illness.

Cuts to mental health services that are being considered by the state Appropriations Committee are disturbing.

The enactment of the budget, as proposed, would have a lasting adverse impact on the quality of services available and the great strides we have made providing better access to care close to home. Those likely to be the most affected are people and families without public or private insurance – those who are already marginalized.

Considering the mental health-related stories in the media – school shootings and the airline crash in the French Alps – the need for better mental health services has never been more apparent.

If the state of Maine has the foresight to provide adequate care to those suffering from mental illness, the rewards of strong, vibrant, healthy communities will pay dividends for years to come.

Nancy St. John Pond

Cape Elizabeth