WHEN CRIES FOR HELP ARE LEFT UNANSWERED
The following story sent chills down my spine since it hit way to close to home. I am happy that the family made this statement:
"We may never know why he made this terrible decision," it said. "One thing is clear though — his actions were caused by an illness and not a defective character."
When my brother was missing in Italy, we were baffled by the laws which prevent a family from making decisions for their very ill family member. Josh had been missing for days when we finally received the call that he was back in Rome. We thought GREAT, now he is safe. Unfortunately, he could not be kept against his will even though he was clearly sick and could not make rational decisions on his own. I would never wish that experience on my worst enemy. There is really nothing to compare it to other than sheer helplessness.
So when I read the article above, I completely could relate to how the family must have felt in their situation. I have been there when my brother begged my mom to call the FBI because of his delusions/hallucinations. I have heard the pain in my mother's voice as she told me how my brother handed her a knife to put under her bed because he was certain someone might break in the house. I remember the stomach pains I felt when my parents pleaded with the hospital to take my brother in after he tried to run out of their car only feet from oncoming traffic because he thought bombs were headed for them. I can tell you that the torture is felt on both ends. Why must our cries for help be ignored when we are the ones living through the chaos. We are the voice of reason yet no one will listen. The law only seems to matter when it is far too late. This will always sadden me.
In my opinion, there are many flaws when it comes to the mental health system. It can't be all or nothing. Mental illness is not black and white. I wish that these laws allowed for flexibility so that the family could intervene. I know these stories of mental illness and violence are rare but when publicized, they affect the publics' perception in a very negative way. They only hear about these rare instances and assume ALL people living with mental illness must be violent. Sorry to sound like a broken record, but education on the subject is in great need if we want to see change. The public may only see the unfortunate violence which results from mental illness but they really need to be aware of the mental illness itself and what it can do to individuals who are suffering? What about these victims? My heart goes out to the officers who were involved in the shooting as well as the family who did not need to loose a son. This unfortunate incident could have been prevented.