Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Vulnerable Place

I found myself with a heavy heart over the past few days. 

My heart goes out to the victims of the Arizona shooting and their families.

My thoughts keep coming back to mental health.   The health of our families and friends. 

Most of us have experienced at some level the pain of mental illness, and the helplessness that often comes with it. 

We are learning more about the shooter, clearly a sick individual. 

And a son.  And neighbor.  And classmate, co-worker and friend.

Estimates are that 10% of our population is on anti-depressants.  And how many of the remaining 90% should be?  How many people on the subway could use meds to "take the edge off" but go untreated?

Our country has changed, and few (hopefully) would want us to go back to institutionalizing across the board.  We're certainly more open about mental health.

But mental health is hardly a political priority.  As budgets bleed, facilities close or lose staff.  

So many of us are teetering. 

We don't know much, if anything, about the shooter's parents or how he was raised. 

I keep coming back to shows like "Intervention" or "Celebrity Rehab."  Shows so predictable in many ways. 

An idyllic childhood.  Smiling pictures in a football uniform or princess dress.

Then a dark secret, and addiction gradually sets in.

Family and friends try for years to intercede.  Glimmers of hope.  Fleeting glimmers.  Helplessness.

If you haven't read Beautiful Boy by David Sheff I highly recommend it.  As a parent I found it both inspirational and terrifying. 

Godspeed to us all.

No comments:

Post a Comment