I applaud Jennifer and Reno Sorensen for having the courage to speak publicly about their personal and tragic story (Your Voice, 8-15). It resonated deeply with me as my family also has experienced a tragedy as a result of the failure of our mental health system.
Our son did not perpetrate violence against others; he instead turned the violence on himself and took his own life just six days after his 17th birthday. The loss of his life is no less tragic than the loss of any other life, but what is truly heartbreaking is the knowledge that his death could have been prevented had he received the help he so desperately needed.
What is it going to take for America to wake up and realize that our mentally ill need help? How many more tragedies are we going to have to experience as a society before we are willing to give mentally ill people the care and compassion that they need.
Mental illness is no different from any other medical illness such as diabetes, cancer or heart disease. Would we as a civilized society refuse to provide treatment for illnesses such as these? Why should it be any different for mental illness?
Statistics show that one in four families will be impacted by mental illness. What that means is that more than likely someone you know or love has a mental illness. It is time for lawmakers to make services for the mentally ill a priority.