On page one of today’s Review is a very hard story about a recent suicide at Riveredge Hospital on Roosevelt Road. A 47-year-old mother of two teens. Transferred to the psychiatric hospital just 12 hours before she took her life by hanging. The story raises many troubling questions and a lawsuit seems likely.
Inside today’s paper we have a news report about a meeting last week at the library where locals who are part of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) offered their own testimony on their mental illnesses or being the family of a person with mental illness.
The purpose of the meeting was to offer advice and information to parents and teachers of teens on what to be watching for as early symptoms of a mental health issue. There was one teacher and one parent in the audience.
We’re not being critical. Heading out after a long day to a meeting on mental illness is going to be a hard sell for most people. But we’ll make this point. The Surgeon General reports that 12 percent of teens under 18 have a diagnosable mental illness. That is a huge number of our children. You know some of these kids. They’re in your extended family. They’re the children of your co-workers, your congregation.
But most often we don’t know about this because we still won’t talk readily about mental illness. The stigma is still too powerful. Meetings like the one at the library where brave young people talk directly about the illnesses, the treatments, the pain and the recovery are part of braving the fear.
Read these stories.