Home Opinion Mental illness awareness has potential to save lives

Mental illness awareness has potential to save lives


By Austin Metz
Editor In Chief

On Saturday, January 8, 2011, the shooting of 20 individuals left many dead and shook the people of the United States in a way we haven’t experienced for some time. In the aftermath of this, much has been made about the shooter, Jared Loughner, and what lead him to do what he did. While much of the blame has been thrown around to different people, such as Sarah Palin, one thing needs to be clear, this was an act committed by Loughner and the blame needs to rest on him.

We live in a culture where blame shifting has become a common practice and no one is willing to stand up and admit when they are wrong. What Loughner did was horrible and while our media will report the news, it’s time for people to be held accountable in the media and in real life.  Though tragic, some positives have come from this. Much can be said about the warning signs Loughner showed before the shooting occurred ranging from the video he posted on Youtube to the way he acted out in class.

Even though many people were aware of his outbursts, including his own parents, nothing was done to help him. Mental illness is a topic that has been whispered about in small circles but nothing has seriously been done about it. It’s sad that something like this has had to happen to make the country stop and think about mental illness but its clear that there is work to be done. While many don’t understand the pain some feel, mental illness is a serious issue that can create many problems for our society.

How many times have you seen a person around town talking to themselves or acting out in different ways? While many people would rather judge them than help them, it may be time we become more understanding and step up and study what’s really happening in the brain when it comes to mental illness.

So much has been done to help individuals suffering from different illnesses such as cancer and heart disease but little research has been done to really understand mental illness.  Right now, besides sitting with a therapist or taking medication, there is little that can really be done. One of Grand Rapids strengths rests in the medical mile and the research we can do. As it keeps expanding, could it be time to dedicate a wing to the research of mental issues and to the treatment for people. This has been done for the children’s wing which is now decorated directly for children. Lets do this for the mentally disabled.

It’s time we use the powerful tools we have at our disposal to make a difference in this field to help those suffering under the dark cloud of mental illness.

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  1. I am a veteran and recovering mental illness patient who has chosen to get my education being that I am labeled disabled for life. When I finally took control of my illness, I wrote a paper on chemical imbalances which is said to be the reasoning behind mental illness. This is not a factual paper but one I wrote based on my eleven year battle. I would like to share it with the paper. Please let me know if I may do so.


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