Reader says ‘thanks’ for addressing mental health issues
Kevin Kluesner, St. Joseph
Thank you for publishing two articles and a letter to the editor about mental illness, Nov. 15.
My family has suffered from the suicides of my sister, Amy, 22, in 1985; and my brother, Michael, 38, in 1997. For the past 28 years my parents, Al and Mary, have worked in many capacities to educate the public to prevent suicides and lessen the stigma of mental illness. Unfortunately, the rate of suicide has not declined since my sister’s death. However, I believe as a society we have made progress in lessening the stigma of mental illness. Organizations like www.nami.org, www.makeitok.org, www.afsp.org (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention) and www.save.org (Suicide Awarness Voices of Education) are doing important work. Mike Stringer and Wendy and Steve Hennes are to be commended for their efforts. God bless them.
Reader celebrates public education after attending reunion
Nancy Streng, St. Joseph
This summer I, as many others do at predictable five-year intervals, attended my high school class reunion. I went to connect with past friends but also to meet others I didn’t know very well even though we occupied the place at the same time in our shared history. At one point in the evening, someone gathered my high school classmates into elementary school cohorts to be photographed. I noticed the fun people had remembering elementary school even though each person’s path, following elementary school, was very different. Some of the elementary school cohorts were huge but when my cohort was called only two of us were present. Still, a respectable turn out considering there were only five in my class at the tiny country elementary school where I attended. In fact, the enrollment for my entire elementary school was only 60 students! As I left the reunion, I was thankful for many things – friends, memories, but mostly public education. I was quieted by thoughts of where I would be, today, if not for public education. Where else, but in America, can a child from even remote and obscure places still receive a free and appropriate education? American Education Week is officially celebrated for one week, every year, in November, but I, for one, celebrate daily.