I was thinking yesterday while I was reading many of the stories from blogging for mental health day at http://www.yourmindyourbody.org/mental-health-month-blog-party-2012-round-up/ that we have a come quite a long way in understanding mental illness but there are so many more things we need to do to fight the stigma associated with mental illness. There seems to be so many news articles in the media that show mental illness in such a bad light and I wished we could get more of a positive message out there to the media that it's treatable and it is nothing to fear.
I was reading an article yesterday about how the family of Mary Richardson Kennedy were very upset on the way the news media were reporting her death.http://tv.yahoo.com/news/mary-kennedys-family-clears-her-image-222700557.html I can't say that I blame them either. Why is that when someone takes their own life that the media floods the airways of negativity about that person's life in the few months leading up to the death or sometimes just a few hours before their death. They also go after their character if they had any bad decisions in their life. They never seem to focus on the positive aspects of their life and most will never know anything more about their life other than the way it ended.
I know I had a good friend a few years back that killed himself and all anyone could talk about was the day of his death. No one wanted to talk about what a great guy he was or how much he impacted their lives. How creative, intelligent and funny he was in his life. All anyone wanted to talk about was his suicide and criticize him. I guess unless you have never been in that dark moment that you want to take your life that you cannot relate and just judge them. I have heard so many people say how selfish those people are or what a coward they were for taking their own life. I know once in the hospital when I was having suicidal thoughts that one therapist tried to tell me that I was seeking attention. All of these things could not be further from the truth. The pain you feel is so dark and deep all you can think of is how much you want to end the pain. You feel worthless and you even feel your friends and family would be better off if you were not there to bring them down and be a burden. I know these feelings and I have always had support to get through it. If you do feel alone there are many places to reach out to but the group I think that does it the best is http://www.afsp.org/
I also find it ironic that the media loves to leave out the stories of mental illness that need to be told. I was reading the very sad story about the beating of Kelly Thomas by police officers and then he died as a result. This was the first time I have heard of this case and it happened a year ago. Kelly Thomas had schizophrenia and was homeless at the time. I will not go into the details of his beating nor show the upsetting video but I will leave you with a link to his story if you want to know more about his story at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Kelly_Thomas I praise his father, Ron Thomas for fighting for his son and getting his story out there. We should all take a note here and keep fighting the stigma for our loved ones with mental illness and for our own rights.