In America today, approximately 45-47 million, or 1 out of 5 Americans, is suffering with a mental health issue; and approximately 1 in 25 adults is currently experiencing a serious mental illness that substantially interferes with one or more major life activities. Sadly, the rate of suicide is at a 30-year high. While more individuals are accessing care, an astounding 9 million are struggling with unmet needs. These are our friends, colleagues, neighbors and perhaps our own family members. As CEO of the Arbour Hospital, my staff and I have the privilege of serving many members of our community who are experiencing some of the most challenging times of their lives – mental illnesses that are often invisible to the casual observer in ways that physical illnesses are not. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, providing an important opportunity for reflection and collective action to address barriers, including the ongoing stigma and stereotypes preventing many individuals from getting the care they need.
Here in Jamaica Plain, we’re making investments across a wide range of projects, including parks and open space, streets and transportation, our schools’ infrastructure, and our delivery of city services. Every spring, we release our Capital Investment Plan which funds the critical improvements to our infrastructure and facilities in Boston over a five-year period. It is a reflection of our priorities, and is guided by the voices of over 15,000 residents who offered input for our citywide plan, Imagine Boston 2030. Our Capital Plan funds the essentials of community life -- our schools, streets, libraries, and parks, including climate and resilience projects. It’s a commitment to all those who call Boston home and to our future generations.
Banning plastic bags, protecting wetlands, fighting gas leaks, water-filling stations, sidewalk composting and net zero carbon buildings. There isn’t a Boston City Councilor who can lay claim to as many environmental legislative accomplishments and initiatives as Matt O’Malley. O’Malley’s environmentally friendly legislation started during his first year on the council when he literally went after paychecks. “Every other week I would get a pay stub even though I had direct pay,” said O’Malley, District 6’s City Councilor, who was first elected in 2010. “I hate paper and I hate clutter and I was raised as an environmentalist.
On Jan. 30th, the Massachusetts House voted against rules that would require the Speaker to give them enough time to read what they’re about to vote on and make the votes they take in committees publicly available. Despite how outrageous it is that the House would vote against these basic transparency measures, I’m thrilled that Jamaica Plain's new state representative, Rep. Nika Elugardo (D-15th Suffolk), is already proving herself an advocate for the people of our district when she stood up to leadership and voted in favor of transparency and accountability. However, my question remains: what was JP’s other representative (my representative), Rep. Liz Malia (D-11th Suffolk), thinking when she voted no? She voted against allowing reps ample time to read bills and amendments that they are voting on.
Every year on November 11th, we remember the armistice, signed on November 11th, 1918, that ended the First World War. One hundred years later, it can be easy to forget why we celebrate this day of all days, as the living memory of that war fades. The fact is, thousands of young men from Boston’s neighborhoods, and from all across our country, put their lives on the line to defend our allies in the Great War. Today, the legacy of that courage and sacrifice is alive all around us -- in the men and women in our neighborhoods who continue to serve our country; the families who continue to sacrifice; and veterans who continue to make Boston the great city that it is. It is essential, this year and every year, that we acknowledge and thank these honored members of our community.