Two weeks ago, a fifteen-year-old boy took his own life in our small town of 28,000. His parents run a successful business and are well-known members of the community. Their son had always been a positive young man and everyone seemed to like him but, apparently, not many knew of his despondency. Was he as upbeat as he portrayed himself to be? Suicide is not usually a quick reaction to a circumstance. It is a well-planned and calculated event over months or years of chronic and relenting depression. How long had he been quietly fighting the demon of sadness?
I think it is time to teach students about mental illness in the school curriculum. Why do we not give our children information about mental illness? We teach them about heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and other illnesses. Mental illness should be no more and no less stigmatizing than other illness, and yet, it is. The best way to lower suicide rates caused by mental illness is to educate students beginning in elementary school.
Lately we hear much about bullying being the cause of suicide. That is false. MENTAL ILLNESS is the cause of suicide – plain and simple. While bullying can exacerbate suicide, it does not CAUSE it. In this instance, school officials stated that bullying was not a factor.
The brain is an organ of the body, just like any other organ. It can malfunction and become chronically ill. When the brain is ill, it affects behavior. Somehow, society mistakenly believes that behavior is always controllable. However, a person with a brain disorder is no more able to control, consistently, their behavior than they are able to control the rhythm of their heart or the function of their pancreas. Why? …because their brains are physically, chemically, and functionally ill.
During this 28-day Author Blog Challenge, I will attempt to break the stigma of mental illness through information about mental illness.
I hope to have you back again tomorrow.