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I appreciated BDC's response to the Bozeman Health Care editorial regarding the hospital’s opinion to address “behavioral health care.” I am offended that this is the term used by health care professionals. Is this an attempt to distance from the fact that the brain is an organ in our bodies and should be a part of overall health care, including preventive care? Those with mental diseases do not behave in a particular manner because they want to. The behaviors are not what need to be treated. This illness should be acknowledged as a disease and treated as such.

Focus should not be on treating the acute symptoms of mental illness but should include ongoing care for these chronic diseases. Early identification and treatment would keep patients out of jail. Several diseases are not ‘curable’ but have treatments to reduce acute phases of the illnesses. Why is the organ called the brain treated differently?

Most discussion is focused on treatment of acute symptoms and suicide. If health care professionals and drug companies focused on treatments to identify and treat illnesses in the brain early, as is done for other illnesses, the number of people in jail or dying by suicide could be lessened.

I have learned about mental illness the hard way. My son took his life many years ago. At that time and still today there is little support for families or for the patient. It is a sad comment to have to make, but if my son had been in trouble with the law, he may have received more care and treatment than I could find for him as a parent. Any family may be impacted at any time. Support must be more available and should begin within our health care systems.

Linda Gabel


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