The tragic shooting last month in Newtown…the Aurora shooting…the shooting in Tucson…the Virginia Tech massacre…all involved mental illness. Nuts, crazy, mad, wacko – words I frequently hear used to describe the mentally ill. These people have a brain disorder, they are mentally ill, and like people with any other illness, they need medical treatment. Therein lies the problem.
Years ago when we deinstitutionalized, states passed laws making it illegal to force mentally ill adults to be treated or take their medications. Once you turn 18, you have a civil right to refuse treatment and remain mentally ill until you become suicidal or homicidal as determined by judges at commitment hearings.
I’m the mother of a bipolar son who took his life at age 40. His name was Scott. At age 27, without warning, Scotty was transformed into a different person. His became weird, maniacal, out-of-control, psychotic. He no longer required sleep. He became extremely religious…claimed that God had anointed him a prophet and commissioned him to write another book for the Bible. He developed a fixation for the President and made many attempts to get into the White House for what he thought were scheduled meetings with President Clinton. At times, he was in the Witness Protection Program along with other CIA and FBI operatives…federal agents were trying to assassinate him. He was serious and believed everything he was saying.
Following six weeks of involuntary commitment with forced meds, Scotty recovered and was able to resume his life. Treatment works. Mental illness is a lifelong illness with recurring episodes. There is currently no cure…but the good news is… mental illness is treatable. Medication compliance is the key to living with mental illness.
by Dottie V. Pacharis, Ground Report