Bill MacPhee, the founder and CEO of SZ magazine, wrote in one of his editor's letters that the goal is not to set the bar high. The goal is to set it. Period.
We have not only NOT set the bar for mental health treatment. We have perpetuated the blatant neglect of our citizens' mental health that leads to the killing of lives. Either a person is doomed to be mentally ill the rest of his life with no chance of recovery: or he is fated to take up a gun and kill others.
Why is it that I received immediate treatment and countless others fall through the cracks? My memoir, Left of the Dial, documents that I got the right treatment within 24 hours the first time; and I was immediately hospitalized the second time.
I got treatment: and I recovered. As soon as I got treatment, I no longer had the signs and symptoms of the schizophrenia I was diagnosed with when I had the breakdown.
For every Adam Lanza, there is a Christina Bruni who refuses to speak out.
It's time to get over the obsession with the stereotyping of people with schizophrenia, with fronting concern for the civil liberties of unstable people, to get over the veneer of silence that afflicts those of us doing well.
How is it that I got immediate help and countless others do not? This isn't a trend; it's commonplace, and it's the great failure of our society.
The editorial team at HealthCentral cribbed in a news article something I posted here on my own years ago: "The only real failure is the failure to try." I was astonished the editorial team had the courage to state that.
Define "try." It differs for each of us exactly what we do when we try to do something. Yet the point is: do something, do whatever you can; give it your best shot and you can be proud, even if you fail at something.
In the aftermath of Newtown, I expect nothing less than the dedication to fix what's broken, for each of us to aid in healing the world; to practice Ujima. (see my comment for the definition)
We need to bear a sense of collective responsibility for this problem.
It begins at home. If you see something is not right with your child, try to get help immediately. Keep trying as long and hard and repeatedly as necessary.
For God's sake, don't keep guns in your closet if your son or daughter is unstable. I knew a guy who killed himself with his father's gun.