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At St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma, Lena Forsyth was known for being a dedicated nurse diabetes educator. At the age of 55, she was in the prime of her career, hard at work teaching patients and their families how to treat their condition and change their lifestyle. She had a loving husband, Tony, and treasured time with her family. She was involved in the Steilacoom community and was a friendly face at meetings and events.
And then the news dropped on her and her family like a stack of bricks: young-onset Alzheimer’s.
THE U.S. federal government spends about $5.7 billion annually to help people with serious mental illness, according to a recent investigation by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
What does all that money buy? It pays for 112 distinct programs spread across eight federal agencies. But more than half of the programs specially targeting serious mental illness don’t even evaluate their effectiveness, according to the GAO.