"...had a heart attack." A few short words when spoken after someone's name gets your immediate attention, especially if you know that person.
If you learned this same person instead of suffering a heart attack was diagnosed with depression, paranoia, schizophrenia, or any other recognized mental illness, it's human nature to draw a different picture or conclusion in your mind about that persons health. Unfortunately, many people are unaware that sick is sick, no matter if it's a physical or mental illness.
Both deserve first class rapid response and subsequent health care, however this is seldom the case.
If you witness someone having a heart attack, the outcome of the event could vary based on the level of care you administer, however a call to 911 would be the minimum one would provide.
Mental health emergencies are not declared until someone is perceived to be a threat to themselves or others, or a tragic incident at their hands has already unfolded, only at this time is 911 dialed.
Whether the illness is visibly evident such as loss of consciousness, chest pains, shortness of breath, or an illness which presents no visible outward signs, perhaps only odd behavior, both illnesses should be viewed as urgent life or death circumstances, which unfortunately many times they are not.
During heart patient recovery, friends and family visit, arrangements for care or help around the house or farm are made while the patients' convalesce. Support from family and friends is abundant.
Referring back to the person suffering with mental illness, what kind of support do they get from friends and family? Usually not nearly as much as someone struck with a debilitating physical illness.
The reason for this in many cases is a double edged problem. First, folks hesitate to identify themselves or family members as being mentally ill because of how society currently perceives mental illness. Second, societies' perception of mental health issues puts the needs of those mentally ill patients' on the back burner. This needs to change.
When mental illness is visibly evident, the mentally ill in many cases are shunned from society receiving no care or support the same victim of a heart attack received, leading them down the path of eventual self destruction and frequently the destruction of others.
Mental health issues are starting to come to the forefront especially after Sandy Hook. People inflicted with mental illness should be viewed no differently than someone suffering a heart attack. It's not their fault, its simply how they are wired and anything that can be done to help them should be done without delay. Their mental state erodes to a point of deranged behavior, only at that point is notice taken, but often too late.
If you care to look into mental illness because of interest or you suspect a family member, relative, or friend may be presenting symptoms from the wide array caused by mental illness, the National Alliance on Mental Illness or NAMI as frequently referred to, is a great resource to turn to. http://www.nami.org/
After suffering for years unbeknownst to many, a family member of mine was diagnosed with a number of mental health issues, some I had never heard of. I was directed to NAMI by the psychiatric hospital for answers and support.
I became a member last year, money well spent on a wealth of information in the form of internet information, printed material and local support groups. Their internet resources are all free requiring no membership.
I attended a NAMI 12 week "Family to Family" course which was composed of family members coping with loved one's mental illneses', building a large 3 ring binder with information as the class progressed.
I learned a great deal from other family members' experiences as well as from the NAMI representatives and guest speakers hosting the free event. NAMI is a huge advocacy organization for mental health care for everyone and is non taxpayer supported.
My family member, still under the care and direction of medical professionals, requires medication to balance the brain chemical imbalance rooting the illness. With meds taken as prescribed, this person's nightmarish life has turned into a normally functioning, rational thinking productive one. And I have a better understanding of why and how.
Could this person have opened fire at a public gathering before treatment? Highly unlikely but not impossible to completely rule out as one's actions caused by mental illness are almost impossible to predict.
As many people have mentioned in other posts circling this subject, today's society may have a greater burden on the populations' mental health. Most mass murders by gunfire have been commited by a younger generation.
As NAMI will teach you, mental illness runs in families and is generally not distributed by a pick and choose method. As these younger mentally ill people reproduce, the ranks of the mentally ill will increase decade by decade.
Severe mental health issues are here today and not likely to go away soon. America needs to focus on mental health by recognizing mental illness with the same regard as physical illness and the early treatment it commands instead of looking the other direction as many of us have done in the past, including me.
Happy Holidays readers and members of farmallcub.com http://www.nami.org/
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