Letters to the Editor

‘Broken brain’ syndrome

Services often lacking for people who need help in dealing with a mental illness. - FILE PHOTO
Services often lacking for people who need help in dealing with a mental illness.
— image credit: FILE PHOTO

Dear Sir:

This is a response to the tragic shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and others in Tuscon, Arizona.

There as no motive.

The young man was reported as being known by police for aberrant behaviour and for displaying random thoughts.

He had obviously lost touch with reality. In other words he was psychotic. This young man was very ill. His brain was broken.

This tragedy is another example of system failure.

There is inadequate education of the public, government and families. There is inadequate education of some service providers.

There is inadequate funding for treatment of those with mental disorders. And distorted police and health policies which require police to waste precious time and resources in emergency rooms once an ill person is delivered to the hospital.

Our brains function on chemical/electrical circuitry. When the brain becomes disordered or broken, thoughts and feelings and hence perceptions become distorted.

The behaviour reflects the disorder. Most people with a mental disorder withdraw.

A few people will act on distorted perceptions such as hallucinations of hearing voices or seeing things that are not there, or on delusions (disordered thoughts).

My son hung himself after years of struggling with a mental disorder.

The causes of his suicide were varied. One was self stigma – for him to acknowledge his illness meant he was not ‘normal’ and hence he would not stay on medication.

Another cause for my son’s suicide was not being admitted when desperately ill in an emergency room.

There were also privacy issues (falsely applied) preventing the emergency response unit from trying to locate my son when I reported he was in serious trouble. Life and health should trump privacy.

Would we leave someone with a broken leg unattended?

For first aid for psychosis and education and support on all major mental disorders, contact your local resource office of the BC Schizophrenia Society.

Eileen Callanan,

Terrace, B.C.

The phone number for the local BC Schizophrenia Society coordinator is 1-866-326-7877. Email is terrace@bcss.org

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