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Can We Now Talk About Mental Illness?

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US-SCHOOL-SHOOTING
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The horrific tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut leaves many of us speechless, while others point the fingers of blame at what suits their own personal views (make guns illegal! Or, arm everyone! Bad parenting! Liberals! Conservatives! Lack of God!)

Could we talk for a minute about mental illness? This mother’s column, “Thinking the Unthinkable,” has been making the rounds on social media but if you haven’t yet read it, please do.

She is struggling with her own son’s mental illness. He is highly intelligent, but prone to violent outbursts. She says she loves him, but is afraid of him. She’s been told to get him arrested for something because then there will be a legal paper trail and a possibility of help. But her son is in junior high!

There are few resources for families dealing with mentally ill children. Usually, insurance doesn’t cover treatment. Mental health experts say its the last social stigma so families are loathe to talk about it.

While many in our nation use the Sandyhook Elementary tragedy as a platform to fight about guns, could we just take a moment to address mental illness?

This mother says it best: “I am sharing this story because I am Adam Lanza’s mother. I am Dylan Klebold’s and Eric Harris’s mother. I am James Holmes’s mother. I am Jared Loughner’s mother. I am Seung-Hui Cho’s mother. And these boys—and their mothers—need help. In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.”

Debbie Monterrey
dcmonterrey@cbs.com

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