LETTERS: Anthem kneeling; mental health

Standing with the ‘kneelers’

On Thursday there was a letter that asked, “Who stands for a man who kneels?” I have a simple answer: I do!

Why? Because these men — be they football players, liberals, conservatives or independents — make use of a right guaranteed by the Constitution, to display dissent in a peaceful manner. The writer goes on to characterize the “kneelers” and their supporters in most unflattering terms, and then states that the majority of the country agrees with him.

Wrong again. The majority of the country voted liberal in the last election by more than 3 million votes. That would seem to indicate that the majority don’t want the “kneelers” denied their Constitutional rights only because they show their disagreement with your opinions.

Ned Sheats, Mission

Mental health should be a priority in the Valley

When people feel sick with a cold or stomach pains, a doctor is sought out. The same cannot always be said when people suffer from mental illness. Mental health problems affect many people, which is why it is imperative to approach this topic as seriously as any other disease.

With the increasing awareness of the importance of addressing mental health, we find that a barrier ensues when resources are not available. In Hidalgo County, there is a designated shortage of mental health physicians. With every year, the population of Hidalgo county increases. The existing substantial need for access to mental health care would only worsen with a rising population.

Statistics specific to Hidalgo County indicate that the ratio of mental health providers to the population is 1 to 1,970. Texas is ranked as low as 49 in the nation for providing access to mental health care.

This data helps put into the perspective of the severe lack of resources available to Hidalgo County. The question to ask now is how we can improve these circumstances. Our community appears to have a promising future in access to mental health care with the recent addition of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine in Edinburg. The new medical school will help provide opportunities to bring more physicians to the Valley.

The positive impact has already begun, with the implementation of a new psychiatry residency program, affiliated with the UTRGV School of Medicine. This four-year program was established in 2017, and is committed to focusing on the needs of the local underserved areas. A residency program such as this would benefit the valley and facilitate in reducing the shortage of mental health providers.

We must place mental health as a priority, for ourselves and for our community.

Victoria Osborne, Mission