Santa Cruz Good Times

Nov 30th
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From the Editor

greg_archerS2sPlus Letters to Good Times
Medication Time?
Farr Makes A Point
Farr Makes A Point

There’s help for Haiti in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that hit last week. And Santa Cruz County—an area that knows all too well how heartbreaking it can be surviving a 7.0 quake—can contribute in a number of ways. You can make a donation to the International Response Fund online or by phone—try texting "Haiti" to 90999. You can automatically send a $10 donation to the Red Cross that way and the charge will appear on your cell phone bill. Learn more about how you can offer support through the Red Cross relief efforts by contacting the local American Red Cross at 831-462-2881 or You can find more information about Haiti relief efforts on our own website, Simply log on and scroll down to the appropriate blog. As many of us here all know, when something as devastating as this happens, it somehow unites people, forcing everybody to realize we’re occupying the same big boat together—humanity’s. It’s time to give.

Actually, this week’s issue features four locals who have been known to give in big doses, so much so, that they’re being awarded by Santa Cruz Next. SCN is the local progresive organization that “promotes access to and development of economic, social and cultural opportunities”—mostly in an effort to connect the area’s “next generation of residents to the community at large.” The four locals being honored with NEXTies are Danny Keith, Reyna Ruiz, Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz and Marina Sousa. Discover how their individual contributions to the local community caught the attention of SCN—and ours.

In the meantime, it won’t hurt to take stock of all the good things around us this week and express some gratitude.

Thanks for reading. Until next time ...

Greg Archer | Editor

Letters to Good Times Editor

Medication Time?
I read the article “Drug Me, Please” (GT 12/29) with great interest, but I am concerned that it presents a limited perspective of a very complex subject.  I have no argument with the fact that complementary and alternative treatments may be helpful supports in treating certain medical conditions, including psychiatric. However, psychiatric medications can also provide very valuable treatment to many individuals with diagnoses like major affective disorders and schizophrenia. I feel that your article greatly oversimplifies the issues.
First of all, I do not believe that medical treatment should always consist of either medications only, or complementary or alternative treatments only. It seems that the spirit of integrative medication, as the name implies, involves the integration of a range of treatment modalities and a variety of treatment providers, not an either/or type approach. Your article also does not take into account the extensive research that demonstrates positive outcomes for treatments with psychiatric medications. Some research regarding psychiatric medications may be biased, but I do not accept that it all is. Treatment decisions should be made with an individual’s unique needs and specific conditions in mind, not with a one-size fits all approach.
Finally, I am concerned that your limited perspective unnecessarily diminishes people’s trust of key support systems and providers. Many people who use our services are now doing well using psychiatric medications as part of their overall support and recovery plans. For such individuals our goals in providing public mental health services are about so much more than medications. We work to help improve overall health and quality of life, supporting the kind of real recovery that generates much needed hope and opportunities for full lives in the community.
Charles Johnson, MD
Chief of Psychiatry, Mental Health and Substance Abuse, County of Santa Cruz

Farr Makes A Point
Good to read Sam Farr’s comments on some of the new programs and money heading into Santa Cruz County (GT 1/14). I was intrigued to learn about the $800 million going to help the 52-mile bike trail that wraps around part of Monterey Bay. In these economic times, it’s refreshing to see some funding isn’t being totally cut out for our vital resources.
Jennifer Smythe

Claim Your Change, Baby
What a great thing to read more about that kid Kyle Thiermann (GT 1/14). I think he’s pretty much right on the money about using local banks instead of the big national ones. We really need to start paying more attention to where we are shopping, spending our money and where we are putting our money.
Ted Williams
Santa Cruz

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