Guns, Yes, But What About Mental Health?

I’ve been treated for major depression for 22 years.

I tell you all this because it’s time that those of us with psychiatric diagnoses cut the  chains of stigma that keeps mental illness locked in a closet, relegated to whispers, viewed as a sign of weakness, poor parenting, indulgence. Just as it’s time to have an honest discussion about gun control in this country, it’s also time to have an honest discussion about our mental health system.

We still don’t know if Adam Lanza, who killed 26 women and children last week and then shot himself, had been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder. But I’m pretty sure there is a mental illness in there somewhere. I’m pretty sure his mother went through hell trying to find him treatment and help. And I’m pretty sure she was stymied at every turn.

I know this because I’m watching my friend go through the same thing with her 9-year-old son. Like the heartbreaking essay by Liza Long now circulating widely on Facebook, my friend has a son with serious mental health issues. One day he’s a lovely, smart, kind little boy. The next he’s completely out of control, a danger to himself and … Continue Reading


I’m Scared

eyeFirst, apologies for my absence; “real” work has interfered.

Now, the explanation for the title of this blog. I’m scared because I’m reading articles about people threatening to kill–note that word “kill”–elected officials because of their vote on healthcare reform.

A man was arrested last week for his threats against Nancy Pelosi; another man was arrested for threatening the two senators from Washington state, saying: “I do pack, and I will not blink when I’m confronted. … It’s not a threat; it’s a guarantee.” One congressman’s campaign received an email that read:   “If our tea parties had hoods, we would burn your (expletive) on a cross an the White House front lawn,” while another had bricks thrown through the windows of his brother’s house (which was listed as his official address) and the propane line to his gas grill was cut.

The Associated Press reported that the Senate’s Sargent-at-Arms, who monitors security in both houses, reported 42 incidents in the first three months of this year,  nearly three times the 15 cases that occurred during the same time last year, and all related to … Continue Reading

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