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 the police 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 them 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! Could there be 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 had to cope with the situation! They probably sank into depression to some degree over this incident…and the guilt…there’s just no telling how it could have affected them! I suspected they were brought into the UNM Mental Health Center, because the police felt they could have done harm to themselves or to others, etc.
Stigma; (definition): Shame or social disgrace
Here, in the United States, we have a big problem with mental illness…in treating people with mental illness with respect and dignity! 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, too! 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, where a young man about 21 years old…in college, and was having problems with himself. He was having suicidal thoughts, that kept coming into his mind, and he couldn’t shake them! That would scare anybody! He went to get help at the Mental Health Care Center at his local town, and when university officials found out about this, he was expelled from the university! This action by university officials is appalling! The story went on to say, that the young man went on to sue the university, as well he should. This behavior by the university officials should not be tolerated!
As I said earlier, I didn’t know much about depression, so I went out on the Internet and here’s what I found. I didn’t know depression was that serious! Just about everywhere I went, I found these two words, which were almost companions…”depression” and “suicide!”
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!
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!
Some people with depression try to harm themselves in the mistaken belief that how they are feeling will never change.
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.
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, I 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, and our lives can be changed forever!
As I said before, American everywhere have to eradicate the stigma of mental illness, and everyone has to do their role. Parents have to educate their children not to poke fun or tease others for any reason.