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LETTERS: Praise for possible new use for old Hillcrest and anger at the pump

Waco Tribune-Herald - 9/14/2017

Old Hillcrest reborn

I am elated and grateful to learn of the possible psychiatric facility planned in the former Hillcrest Hospital building. Having worked (now retired) as a "board-certified psychiatric and mental health" RN at the Waco Veterans Affairs Medical Center for almost 28 years, I am well aware of this need. The Sept. 3 Q&A in the Tribune-Herald ["Old Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center up for new statewide challenge"] addressed how most people don't regard a mental-health issue as important or real till it has involved them personally or someone they know.

When talking with either patients or friends, I would illustrate this point as follows: When someone sustains an obvious physical injury such as a broken bone, other people may joke how it happened and ask, "Can I sign your cast?" In other words, the patient receives recognition of the injury and acceptance. However, too often a mental injury is ignored, avoided or even judged by others in terms of "What did you do to deserve it?"

None of us is completely invulnerable to a mental-health problem occurring at some time in our lives. Some of us are more adept at hiding the problem till it can consume the patient and family and negatively affect the community. The adage "A stitch in time saves nine" is as applicable in mental health as it is for any physical problem.

Hopefully, with increased personnel plus personal and community education, as well as this proposed facility in our midst, we will all learn how to make it easier for mental-health patients to be able to seek help free of judgment - and return to a healthier life more quickly.

Nancy Marquis, Waco

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I was pleasantly surprised by the recent announcement that the former Hillcrest Hospital on Herring Avenue is being considered for conversion to a state psychiatric hospital. Texas needs additional psychiatric beds badly. Those suffering serious psychiatric illnesses should be hospitalized rather than jailed. Converting the "old" Hillcrest would make excellent use of a structure that will otherwise have to be destroyed in the near future.

Too much has been invested there by local citizens over almost a century to let it go to waste given the current opportunity to save it while providing much-needed psychiatric beds.

S.M. Bunn, Jr., M.D., Waco

Pained at the pump

I write this in regard to stores that are gouging people on gas prices in the wake of the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. Why don't you just really kick people when they are down already? Because that's what you are doing. To go from $1.99 or at the most $2.09 and jump up to $2.59 is outrageous! What do you call it if not gouging?

I hope the governor steps in and fines the heck out of each and every establishment that is guilty of doing this. They deserve worse than a big fat fine. They should be put in jail!

Sharon Bates, Waco


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