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Mon Dec 17, 2012, 07:19 AM

"It's time to talk about mental illness."

I live with a son who is mentally ill. I love my son. But he terrifies me.

A few weeks ago, Michael pulled a knife and threatened to kill me and then himself after I asked him to return his overdue library books. His 7 and 9 year old siblings knew the safety plan—they ran to the car and locked the doors before I even asked them to. I managed to get the knife from Michael, then methodically collected all the sharp objects in the house into a single Tupperware container that now travels with me. Through it all, he continued to scream insults at me and threaten to kill or hurt me.

That conflict ended with three burly police officers and a paramedic wrestling my son onto a gurney for an expensive ambulance ride to the local emergency room. The mental hospital didn’t have any beds that day, and Michael calmed down nicely in the ER, so they sent us home with a prescription for Zyprexa and a follow-up visit with a local pediatric psychiatrist.


“I’m going to kill myself,” he said. “I’m going to jump out of this car right now and kill myself.”

That was it. After the knife incident, I told him that if he ever said those words again, I would take him straight to the mental hospital, no ifs, ands, or buts.

I pulled up in front of the hospital, frantically waiving for one of the clinicians who happened to be standing outside. “Call the police,” I said. “Hurry.”

Michael was in a full-blown fit by then, screaming and hitting. I hugged him close so he couldn’t escape from the car. He bit me several times and repeatedly jabbed his elbows into my rib cage. I’m still stronger than he is, but I won’t be for much longer.

I am sharing this story because I am Adam Lanza’s mother. I am Dylan Klebold’s and Eric Harris’s mother. I am James Holmes’s mother. I am Jared Loughner’s mother. I am Seung-Hui Cho’s mother. And these boys—and their mothers—need help. In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.

The rest of this heartbreaking story at link:

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Reply "It's time to talk about mental illness." (Original post)
lbrtbell Dec 2012 OP
Skidmore Dec 2012 #1
dkf Dec 2012 #2
Skidmore Dec 2012 #4
dkf Dec 2012 #5
get the red out Dec 2012 #3
lbrtbell Dec 2012 #6

Response to lbrtbell (Original post)

Mon Dec 17, 2012, 07:24 AM

1. It is time, has been time for a long time.

It's time to talk about it in the context of healthcare for all and not just the privileged. Parity for MH care.

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Response to Skidmore (Reply #1)

Mon Dec 17, 2012, 07:30 AM

2. No...it's time to talk about going to the extreme measure of help for people who can be dangerous.


This isn't normal mental health services these kids need. It's above and beyond normal.

We need to rethink everything about how we treat people with these issues and how we contain them if needed.

Prison is not the answer, nor is suicide through mass murder.

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Response to dkf (Reply #2)

Mon Dec 17, 2012, 07:43 AM

4. I thought I was saying that.

I was pointing out a problem in mental health care availability in that the prisons have been used as de facto dumping grounds for people with untreated mental illness. We do need to revamp the MHC system, and I do believe that there needs to be a rethinking of the use of dedicated inpatient services beyond the 72 hrs to make certain someone has lost the desire to hurt self or others. Sometimes a person needs a little more time and sometimes there are those for which all the time in the world would not stabilize them. However, a great many people with mental illness would benefit from reliable access to a mental health care regimen.

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Response to Skidmore (Reply #4)

Mon Dec 17, 2012, 07:55 AM

5. I have a feeling we will find out there were services provided.


But they are inadequate to the problem.

Moreover I doubt we will go from spotty or no coverage to the full extent of services I bet are needed here.

We can't afford to go to the extremes for the entire spectrum of mental health issuesm. We need exceptions and extra funding for those who fit the profile of mass murderer/suicide victim.

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Response to lbrtbell (Original post)

Mon Dec 17, 2012, 07:33 AM

3. Is there medical hope yet?

Is there hope for these families from the psychiatric community? I speak as someone who has suffered from depression since childhood myself. But we here the stories of the anguish of parents and it seems the medical community is flailing around just wishing these stories would go away. It reminds me of the Psychiatrist who told me I shouldn't be bedridden with depression at 18 since I had a scholarship to college; only about a million times worse. Does the mental health community send these parents home saying this shouldn't be happening or are there treatment plans?

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Response to get the red out (Reply #3)

Mon Dec 17, 2012, 09:53 PM

6. So many psychiatrists just aren't any good

Like the one who told you that you shouldn't be bedridden.

Between the lack of resources and the fact that so many psychiatrists aren't doing their jobs, it's no wonder so many people are suffering.

You know what makes me even sicker? The fact that on DU, any thread about helping the mentally ill doesn't get nearly as many recs as those of frothing-at-the-mouth hysteria over guns.

Yes, even here, the majority of people don't give a damn about those suffering from mental illness--severe or otherwise.

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