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Voice of our Readers May 18, 2023

Protecting the elderly: Minnesota’s battle against the landline shutdown        

 'People with mental health feel isolated'
Letter to the Editor:
In Minnesota, I recently discovered that telecom companies were granted FCCapproval last August to deregulate the shutdown of copper wire landline phoneservice. Instead, they are allowed to substitute it with internet-based phone service.
This ruling has profound implications for Minnesota’s most vulnerable population segments. If the federal government fails to champion their interests, it becomes incumbent upon the state government to step forward and take action.
As outlined in the FCC order, the cost-intensive maintenance of landlineinfrastructure impedes our progression toward the next generation ofcommunication technology.
Explain this perplexing situation to my parents or the 740,000 seniors inMinnesota who still rely heavily on landline service. My parents struggle to navigate their cell phones, and frequent disruptions plague the internet connection in theirhome. It is unfathomable to tether their primary mode of communication to such an unpredictable entity as their internet connection, not to mention the complete blackout of internet service during power outages.
The FCC’s decision places the profit margins of telecom giants above theneeds of rural communities, elderly individuals and regions with inadequateinternet accessibility. It becomes the responsibility of the Minnesota StateLegislature to intercede and advocate on behalf of those most likely to bemarginalized in this change for the “better.”
Cole Griffin,
Letter to the Editor:
First, I think Lori Sorenson is one of the strongest and most courageous women I know, and thank you for sharing and bringing mental health to the forefront to the community.
I would like to share my story. Eleven years ago, I had a “mental breakdown,” and although I knew intellectually that depression and anxiety were nothing to be stigmatized, emotionally I stigmatized myself. It wasn’t until I went to Dialectical Behavioral Therapy group five years later that I finally integrated my intellectual self with my emotional self. What an eye opener!
I still have problems and will continue to do so as mental health issues are chemical problems in the brain and don’t go away. But there are tools to help when times get difficult.
Right now, times are difficult for me. Scott Ehde’s death and numerous other people I’ve known have been devastating for me.
I realize that rural areas all over the country are experiencing high rates of suicide, but Luverne’s rates are higher than most, especially among young people. My feelings are that it is in part the attitude of stigmatization in the community and lack of true help for these people. These are thoughts I’ve had for some time and would like to share.
People with mental health problems feel isolated and that they are the only ones who feel the way they do. I truly believe that group therapy can be a lifesaver. It was for me.
I would like to see Avera/Southwestern Mental Health Center purchase a van and transport people to Sioux Falls for group therapy. These kids and adults need to know that they aren’t the only one with issues, because that’s how they feel. Talk therapy only goes so far. Trying to do it in Luverne is too close to home, and the embarrassment is too heavy.
I believe that there needs to be support groups for parents of children/loved ones with mental health problems. The first being therapist led who can help these parents deal with their children’s or other loved ones’ issues. The second being for those that have lost loved ones that would be strictly a support group for them and not in any way associated with a therapist.
Maybe some of these things are already being done. I've been gone for a while. Most of all the community at large needs to stop stigmatizing people with mental health. They are normal people with an invisible illness.
No one would stigmatize someone because they have cancer or some other form of illness that is visible.
This is also a heavily religious community who rely on prayers and the Lord to help them. Prayers are wonderful and God helps, but he helps those who help themselves. We have to do our part of the work.
I know this is a difficult journey, but it is a worthwhile journey, and if it saves one life, it’s worth it.
I pray for all the families that have lost loved ones to suicide. I wish love and support for each and every one of you.
Cathy Rockman
Maple Grove

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