I have a brother Ricky, who is an alcoholic and was spending some time at the University of New Mexico Mental Health Center getting care, etc. One day, my mother and I went to visit Ricky, and as we sat in the lobby waiting to see him, we heard a lot of commotion outside the door. There were about six people in the group entering the Mental Health Center, including three policeman, pushing and shoving, and who were struggling to bring in this elderly couple about 70-72 years old!
Screaming. . . yelling. . . and crying. . . the elderly couple were not easy to handle by the police, as they took the elderly couple by force into the back of the building someplace! My mother and I looked at each other in amazement at what had just happened! Why were the police bringing this elderly couple into the Mental Health Center? When the nurse came by to get us to see Ricky, I asked her what had happened.
The nurse told me that the house of the elderly couple had burned to the ground. . . and if that wasn't bad enough. . . their grandchildren perished in the fire! Is there a catastrophe greater than this one? We can all relate to this story, because we all live in a house or an apartment, and our lives could be changed in minutes! One can only imagine how the elderly couple sank into depression over this incident, and they could have done harm to themselves or to others, and that's probably why they were brought in by the police.
Stigma; (definition): Shame or social disgrace
The stigma concerning mental illness in this country has to come to a halt! The discrimination, the bigotry. . . the name-calling; “nut cake, " “crackpot" “psycho" has to stop! The fear of getting fired from a job, because the employee gets mental health care has to stop and is a shame!
I saw a story on the news, whereby a young man about 21 years old, who was in college, and was having problems with himself. Suicidal thoughts kept coming into his mind, and that would scare anybody! He went to get help at the Mental Health Care Center, and when university officials found out about this, he was expelled from the university! This action by university officials is a disgrace and should not be tolerated! The story went on to say, that the young man went on to sue the university, as well he should.
As I said earlier, I didn't know much about depression so I went out on the Internet and here's what I found. Just about everywhere I went, I found these two words were almost companions. . . "depression" and “suicide!"
FROM: National Institute of Mental Health (nimh. gov)
In any given period, 9.5% of the population, or 18.5 million American adults, suffer from depressive illness. The economic cost for this disorder is high, but the cost of human suffering cannot be estimated! Depressive illness often interferes with normal function and causes pain and suffering, not only to those who have the disorder, but tho those who care for them. Serious depression can destroy family life, as well as the life of the ill person.
Depression is a serious medical condition, which can lead to the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior. Although most people who are depressed do not kill themselves, untreated depression can increase the risk of possible suicide. Whether or not they intend to act on these thoughts, severely depressed people often do not have the energy to harm themselves. But, it is when depression lifts, and they can gain increased energy, that they may be more likely to attempt suicide!
FROM: Psychology Information Online (psychologyinfo.com)
Impact from depression causes tremendous emotional pain; disrupts lives of millions of people; adversely affects the lives of families and friends; reduces work production and absenteeism; has a negative impact on the economy. . . costing an estimated 44 billion dollars per year!
FROM: American Psychological Association
Some people with depression try to harm themselves in the mistaken belief that how they are feeling will never change.
FROM: Depression Resource Center.org
Research over the past two decades has shown that depression and heart disease are common companions, and what is worse. . . one can lead to the other! It appears now that depression is an important risk factor for heart disease along with high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
FROM: Real Age Depression.org
Major depression is a major cause of disability in the United States and world-wide.
During the past decade or so, I have been laid off from SIX jobs. . . all for legitimate reasons such as companies closing; defense cuts; down-sizing, and so forth. I have never lost a job because I was fired or because of an attitude problem or poor attendance. But, during this awful time in my life, I suffered from depression and didn't know it! After I educated myself on the subject, I went to see my doctor and got the necessary medication to help me cope, etc.
On occasion, try to keep in mind what happened to the elderly couple, as their tragedy can happen to any of us! In a matter of seconds, our house or apartment can go up in flames!
As I said previously, American everywhere have to eliminate the stigma of mental illness, and everyone has to do their part. Parents have to teach their kids not to poke fun or tease others for any reason. . . as others may be having trouble coping, etc. If there was a place the Golden Rule applies. . . it's here. Do unto others. . . as you would have them do unto you!
Over 200 colorful pages; over 500 graphics
Copyright; Jerry Aragon; 2006