Sometimes when I look at my son, I want to question why him, but I refuse to give in to negativity. Life is never perfect as we hope or dream. It has many imperfect curves and situations that shake our foundation, but a foundation built on solid ground may sway but it will never crumble. When a mother is carrying a child in her womb, she simply prays for a healthy child and my prayers were answered, but the future is forever a mystery to us all.
In light of all the mishaps in the world due to an ever changing world, mental illness has successfully escaped the dark closet. Dressed up like a villain with a cape containing super powers, it has spread its venom and is affecting the lives of many in various places. For too long, the stigma of this disease has been swept under rug after rug, therefore creating havoc like a tsunami in family after family.
Before, we all knew of someone whose flower didn’t fully bloom or it was that family down the street, so we sympathized with them openly, but wondered secretly from a distance. We went about our daily lives planting and nurturing our own garden, then it happened, that same flower didn’t fully bloom in our own yard causing us to search for answers beyond what we’ve heard or witness on television.
Mental illness has been viewed as the brick that shatters families, but I say maybe, because we live in a country that affords top shelf in technology, research and advanced care, yet our system of dealing with the massive need in this area is severely broken.
I called every mental health facility in my city seeking help before my son was diagnosed, but was given a standard message, which really meant we can’t help you because he is an adult. As my son slipped deeper into the darkness of his condition, I grew more and more frustrated. A year and a half later, my son, the child I had nurtured from birth drew a sword threatening my life because the voice in his head said it was God and I was the devil. Imagine the questions running through my mind at the very moment. I knew not whether I was going to live to see beyond the next minute, yet when I called 911, I received an immediate response to take him down and throw him behind the bars that confine so many suffering from the same wretch it condition.
How many unfortunate incidents and tragedies does it take for it to be realized that mental illness is a growing epidemic. It has seeped through the crevices of the closet walls escaping to not fully bloom in the front yards on almost every street in America. The mental health system needs a major over haul. Care should be readily available without red tape, family members and care givers should be a part of the care plan and law enforcement agencies should be trained to deal with a person with mental instability. Furthermore , when a person has been through the mental health system, it should be noted in their DMV records, so that if their name is ran through a law enforcement system it displays which gives officers a heads up on how to effectively deal with the person.
This country’s lack of dealing with this problem is costing us more than any current deficit, because its affect covers all areas of life. We need politicians, the media, physicians and counselors to go beyond talking about mental illness when a problem arises. We need them to act by creating a user friendly system that advocates helping these individuals and families.
According the National Institute of Mental health, mental disorders are common in the United States and internationally. An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older — about one in four adults — suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. When applied to the 2004 U.S. Census residential population estimate for ages 18 and older, this figure translates to 57.7 million people. Even though mental disorders are widespread in the population, the main burden of illness is concentrated in a much smaller proportion — about 6 percent, or 1 in 17 — who suffer from a serious mental illness. In addition, mental disorders are the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and Canada. Many people suffer from more than one mental disorder at a given time. Nearly half (45 percent) of those with any mental disorder meet criteria for 2 or more disorders, with severity strongly related to comorbidity.
These numbers are alarming and should emit an immediate reaction to act for the better of our citizens and communities. Write or call your leaders today and demand a change. A change is in the best interest of us all. We cannot continue to allow our flowers to be only admired and topics of general conversations, but be the instruments of a new system of awareness.