It’s been a year since the shooting tragedies at Clackamas Town Center here in Oregon and Sandy Hook School in Newtown, CT. The following articles from CNN are an incredibly open and world-shaking depiction of what it’s like to care for someone with a mental illness in America.
The eyes of the nation land on gun control and the mentally ill when tragedy strikes, but how can we understand and prevent these events from happening?
‘My son is mentally ill’
“The boy wears SpongeBob pajamas and sits up in bed, a blanket draped over his shoulders. In his right hand he holds a rosary. “Please, please, please help me,” he whimpers. Imaginary voices bark at him. “Go away,” he tells them. “Go away! Go away!” He screams for his mother: “They’re making me have these bad thoughts.” Stephanie Escamilla is videotaping her son Daniel. He is 10. Nobody believes her when she says he hears voices. This tape will be her proof. When the voices come, they tell Daniel to kill his brother, his mother and himself. Sometimes he turns the TV on full blast to drown out their commands. Or sprinkles holy water around his bed. As the camera rolls, Stephanie calls psychiatric hospitals near her home in San Antonio. Repeatedly she is turned down. Nothing can be done for her son, she is told, unless “he is a danger to himself or others.” It is December 2009, and Daniel’s hallucinations last more than two hours.”
Hope in the midst of pain: Readers respond to mental illness struggle
“Imagine a mother, ostracized and isolated for years because her son is mentally ill, suddenly receiving thousands of messages of support, thanking her for coming forward and calling her heroic. That’s what Stephanie Escamilla experienced after CNN Digital published my story and Evelio Contreras’ video, “My son is mentally ill,” so listen up. The response has been overwhelming. Thousands of messages via e-mail, Twitter and Facebook have poured in — from across America and from around the world, including Zimbabwe, the Netherlands and South Africa. Many were from mothers fighting their private struggle with their own children, from fathers, from nurses, from psychiatrists. Others opened up their hearts, describing years of agony dealing with their own mental illness before stabilizing.”