If someone took your 16 year old daughter and tortured, scarred and mutilated her body over and over and over again for 3 years, how would you feel? What would you do? Would you be completely enraged? Camped out at the police office until the person doing this to your daughter was arrested? Would you take matters into your own hands and hurt the torturer back?
What do you do when it’s your daughter doing it to herself, and no amount of yelling or loving words makes the mental illness go away, and you are not allowed in the doctor’s office with her anymore, and you can’t force her into treatment. There’s no police officer coming to take the bad guy away.
If someone took a 35 year old mother of two and slowly poisoned her since the age of 13 with all kinds of chemicals that ate away at her spirit, making her think horrible thoughts, making her body writhe in pain to the point where she can’t hold down a decent job or raise her kids the way she always dreamed of raising a family, how much news coverage would this crime get? What do you think would be a prison sentence for someone who poisons someone else for over 20 years?
What do you do when it’s a family member addicted to drugs poisoning themselves, and no amount of yelling or loving words makes the mental illness go away, and you are not allowed in the psychologist’s office to tell the whole story, and you can’t force them into treatment. There’s no police officer coming to take the bad guy away.
Mental illness doesn’t only affect those who suffer day in and day out battling their own demons, it also affects those of us who have to sit back and watch.
In light of Robin William’s death by suicide this year, I was surprised by how little was said about World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10, 2014. We have got to do better than this.
Turning a blind eye doesn’t make it go away. We need more to be done in terms of earlier detection and better treatments, we need to raise awareness in the public and we need health care professionals to take an interest in curing the mental health diseases with as much energy and enthusiasm as cancer and Aids. Let’s make mental health sexy.
What do you do when there is no bad guy to arrest? You take a stand and you help find a way for the good guy to shine again.