Taking money from the marginalised

Governments don’t renew funding for worthwhile programs all the time for varying reasons, but when you see the faces and hear the stories of the people who use the Mental Illness and Substance Abuse (MISA) program it makes you want to cry.

Here are people who are already marginalised from society due to mental illness and who have made the choice to try and not use drugs and alcohol. They’re trying to get their lives together in difficult circumstances and have found solace and help with the group and the counsellors involved and the very thing that’s been giving them help is being torn from them.

People who make the choice to give up taking drugs need as much support as possible – no-one can successfully negotiate that path without help and they shouldn’t have to. And people who suffer from a mental illness are particularly at risk as they self medicate to try and find some release from their pain and suffering.

Here is a program that’s working and offering real help to people who need it and a bureaucratic decision could well mean it ceases.

I appreciate that the federal government does not have bottomless pockets, despite the impression given by the various stimulus packages, but surely in the end, helping people who already do it tough because of illness from sliding back into substance abuse is worth it.

There’s a delegation protesting at Richmond MP Justine Elliot’s office today (Thursday) in the hope that their actions will make the government listen and find the money somewhere for this valuable service.

It’s the neglected, forgotten, disenfranchised and suffering people who need help the most and I just hope the people who have been going to MISA are given the chance they deserve.


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