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Homeless individuals deserve less stereotyping, more mental health services | Opinion

Sacramento Bee - 9/17/2023

Mental health care for the homeless

“Investments in mental health care will help alleviate California’s homelessness crisis,” (, Aug. 15)

Society dehumanizes homelessness and stereotypes homeless individuals as dangerous, rather than what they actually are, human. Earlier this week, I watched a video about someone who went to a coffee shop, bought food and sat down with a homeless man and talked. They talked about how society treats homeless people, as if they are evil people for being in need. Homelessness has all types of causes, mental health being a major contributor. This is why funding from the state Mental Health Services Act going towards individuals with high risk of homelessness can seriously make an impact on California’s homelessness crisis.

Jillian Silva


Reignite educators’ passion

“College students are still struggling with basic math. Professors blame the pandemic,” (, Aug. 31)

It seems to me that when teachers do not have the passion for what they are doing, classes become far less interesting, engaging, and educational for us students. For these reasons, it isn’t surprising that students are lacking basic math skills going into college.

Dulce Capetillo

Elk Grove

Consider new encampment sites

“Gavin Newsom says court case limiting California homeless sweeps should go to Supreme Court,” (, Sept. 13)

Why can’t Newsom settle the suit over homelessness by persuading the National or State Park Services to rent empty warehouses to nonprofits, thereby allowing for the provision of necessary beds?

Stephen Jacobs


Pregnancy Inequities

“Doctors and hospitals force California moms into C-sections,” (, Aug. 26)

As an OB/GYN in this community, I work hard to provide my patients with evidence-based medical care amid the rising tide of inaccurate and misleading information on social media. No doubt California needs to improve access to care, particularly for low-income and non-white women so that women who want it can attempt a trial of labor after a cesarean (TOLAC) in a safe environment.

However, a significant number of women who have previously delivered by C-section don’t want a TOLAC and instead choose to have a repeat C-section (making that 88% repeat C-section rate far less ominous); but that is never mentioned in this article. The overall tone of outrage that ran throughout the article, combined with the overtly inflammatory headline, serves only to encourage mistrust between patients and providers.

Dr. Melissa Johnson


Pay scientists fairly

“‘Pay equity now’: California scientists march to Capitol, demanding new contract and raises,” (, Aug. 31)

The Department of Food and Agriculture safeguards over $50 billion generated annually by the agricultural industry. This involves surveying, trapping, identifying and safely controlling pests to prevent disruptions in our food supply and international partnerships. Many thousands of suspect pest samples are collected and sent to our lab for final, official determination. I know because I am one of 15 Ph.D scientists who identify these samples.

A misidentification can cost the state millions of dollars. High levels of education and experience at the lab ensures this doesn’t happen. Yet the California Department of Human Resources insists on inadequate pay, daring us to leave. Scientists can’t make ends meet, and those who can are leaving. Meanwhile, recruitment is dismal. Yet CalHR shows us nothing but ignorance, disrespect and petty cruelty. We ask CalHR to support California Agriculture and give us a fair contract now.

The economic well-being of the state depends on the economic well-being of state scientists.

Dr. Peter Kerr


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