LETTER: Additional help for mental illness neededThere is a book, compiled by the American Psychiatric Association called the Diagnostic and Statistics Manual (DSM). It contains names and symptoms of all the currently accepted forms of “mental illness.”
To the Editor:
There is a book, compiled by the American Psychiatric Association called the Diagnostic and Statistics Manual (DSM). It contains names and symptoms of all the currently accepted forms of “mental illness.”
The expected problems of mood, anxiety and thinking – like depression, obsessive compulsive disorder and schizophrenia — are described, along with every imaginable condition that can affect the brain and behavior including Alzheimer’s disease, sleep disorders and learning disabilities...
The new edition is reported to include nail biting - but not Asperger’s syndrome, the reported diagnosis of the Connecticut killer.
When horrible things happen, we are quick to say the person must have been “mentally ill.” We usually mean that it is beyond our ability to comprehend their actions/thinking. We quickly want to say they are not like us.
Well, I have a diagnosable mental illness, and I want to say “they” are not like me either or most persons suffering from one of these diagnoses. The actual statistics point out that persons with mental health issues have a lower incidence of violence than the population in general, and are more likely to be victims of crime rather than the perpetrators.
The media is saying that we need to address mental illness. It’s right. The huge cut in dollars to prevent and treat mental illness must be addressed – and not just because of these incidents.
We need to learn good coping skills and teach ways to relieve stress starting in schools. We need solid friendships, to learn to be patient listeners and good parents, and to have people to keep us accountable. We need to be able to afford appropriate treatment and intervention. We need to support local efforts to reach out. (The Castle Center could not sustain the drop in center and its peer to peer efforts because of lack of interest and community support.)
In 2010 there were approximately 13,590 adults in St. Croix County suffering from a mental illness. (22 percent of adults per SAMSHA). Let us reduce the discrimination associated with mental health disorders by not sensationalizing it. Let us not immediately label what we can’t fathom or accept. Let us own our problems and be comfortable telling people about the illnesses that affect our brains.
Let us accept each other and reach out to our neighbors. We don’t need violence as an excuse.