By Linda Stalters, MSN, APRN (ret)
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Schizophrenia And Related Disorders Alliance of America
The past few days at El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio have brought an enormous amount of suffering and grief. We at SARDAA extend our sincerest heartfelt compassion and caring to all who have been affected in these and similar situations. Indeed, the families of the murdered and injured are profoundly suffering and the entire community and country are struggling with these horrific tragedies.
There have been speculations that the shooters were “mentally ill”. Yet, we do not know that to be a fact. If that is the case, they too are victims, as are their families because they did not receive the care and treatment they required and now the consequences are catastrophic.
People with brain illnesses, “mental illness”, are NOT monsters or evil, they do not elect to have a brain illness any more than a person with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s diseases. People who have schizophrenia, schizoaffective and bipolar illnesses are amazing people and must not be labeled and feared, especially if they are receiving treatment. Without treatment people can be dangerous if they have certain delusions and hallucinations, thus, treatment is vitally important. Most people are amazing, kind, gentle, vulnerable and altruistic.
We MUST start providing appropriate care and treatment as soon as there are any signs or symptoms of “mental illness”, even if the person, due to their brain illness, is unaware of their illness. There are effective treatments for most people. People deserve to live!
We are working aggressively to drive reclassification of schizophrenia spectrum brain illnesses. NOW is the time for us all to come together to work on this. We can make a REAL change – contact us to learn how you can help: Info@sardaa.org
Submitted by David E. Geiger, MEE, PE