There are many reasons why I walk. I walk for my daughter who valiantly struggles daily with her bi-polar disorder. It would be beneficial for her to have a job to go to, it would aid in her recovery, but her Medicaid benefits would go away. That would leave her without the medications that help her win those battles. She would go away to jail or a hospital and the illness would win for a while.

I walk for the wonderful nurse practitioner that I spoke with yesterday. She’s looking for ways to help her indigent clients remain on their medications. The county mental health clinic where she works is facing a 30% reduction in their funding. The case managers know what will happen when they can no longer see the clients that will be cut. They will go away. Where do they go?

I walk for the young man in the waiting room with the fear in his eyes. He doesn’t understand what’s happening to him, he can’t make it stop. He doesn’t have a job, or insurance or anyone to help him. Will he have to go away?

I walk because I sat in my county commissioner’s office and they told me that there wasn’t any money to educate the officers in the jail where my daughter was beaten for being mentally ill. I was not the first person to sit in that chair with that story. They said they understand, their hands are tied, they will do all they can. Their eyes said “please go away”.

I walk because we’re told that there isn’t any money in a county to help people that need it. Mysteriously $500,000.00 is found to buy a sign. How many people will the sign help? Will it keep them medicated if they look long enough at it? How could a sign ever be more important than a person, let alone the many people that money would help? I walk because currently people with mental illness that depend on the government for help are not getting what they need and deserve, in July they will get 30% less. Where will that 30% come from? Who will have to go away and where will they go?

It costs roughly $175.00 a day to put someone in a jail cell. It costs $638.00 a day to hospitalize someone in a psychiatric bed. The average cost of giving people access to their medications ranges from $5.00 to $30.00 a day. Where is the savings in taking away their freedom and putting them away? Would anybody be able to run a household with these kinds of decisions, let alone a city, county or state?

I walk because there is strength in numbers. The people making the decisions on how to spend our money need to see the numbers. They need to understand the numbers of people that they are affecting. They need to understand how their costs saving decisions waste both money and lives. They need to see the number of people that might just decide to put someone in their chair that pays attention to those kinds of numbers.

Please join me.
Kim Schneiderman