Letter: Help us address state’s mental health issues

My heart, mind and soul were jolted when I read the mental health expose on the front-page of The Advocate regarding the tragic mental health situation that happened to David O’Quin, who unfortunately died on Feb. 22, 2013 at the EBR Parish Prison.

May David rest in peace; may God console his father, Bill, David and all his family and may no one else have to face being “imprisoned” by mental illness!

You may recall that I had written a letter to the editor entitled “Finding help for mental health issues” on Feb. 9.

Unfortunately, our relative, who was noted in that letter, has been shuffled in and out of hospitals and group homes three times since then and, in the process, endangered himself and others, including family, at times.

I have connected with Bill O’Quin since that article, and we hope to work with others to promote a more humane approach and proactive advocacy for the mentally ill. If you are interested in joining us, contact me at khorcasitas@yahoo.com.

I do plan to “practice what I preached” and work with the great folks at the Mental Health Association of Greater Baton Rouge, where I used to serve in the past as a board member. Its website is http://mhagbr.com/index.php, and contact number is (225) 929-7674.

When I walk with others this Good Friday at the Way of the Cross, I will be walking with David O’Quin, his father and family, my relative and family and all who are afflicted with or who work with those affected by mental health concerns.

The walk will begin at 9 a.m. Friday, April 18, at St. Joseph Cathedral, travel a 14-station station route through the State Capitol grounds, and return to the steps of the cathedral.

Keith John Paul Horcasitas

social worker

Baton Rouge