Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 17 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Mental health system fails times two.

It became clear last week that the mental health system in America remains desperately broken. Three families are mourning and trying to heal this week in the aftermath of violence, injuries, and death; apparently the results of untreated mental illness.

The family of Patrick Bedell, the man who opened fire on two guards at the Pentagon last week released this statement: "We are devastated as a family by the news from yesterday. To the outside world, this tragedy is the first and only thing they will know of Patrick. To us, he was a beloved son, brother, grandson, nephew and cousin. We may never know why he made this terrible decision. One thing is clear though - his actions were caused by an illness and not a defective character." --from The Gilroy Dispatch. The guards were injured in the shooting while Bedell was shot and killed.

Halfway across the country, another mentally ill man was found guilty in the murder of an Iowa football coach. Mark Becker believed his former coach, Ed Thomas, was Satan and thought he was protecting the community by killing him. He had been released from a three day stay at a local psychiatric facility the day before the murder.

From The DesMoines Register: The defendant's mother, Joan Becker, who had testified about her son's disturbing struggles with mental illness, thanked the jurors for serving on a difficult trial - even though she disagreed with their verdict."Our son Mark would never have taken the life of another person in his sane mind," she said. "Ed Thomas was a victim of a victim. Although Mark and we as his parents attempted to go through all the proper channels to get Mark the mental health treatment he desperately needed, the system failed miserably."

One has to wonder, if mental illnesses were treated with as much respect, knowledge, and priority as other life threatening illnesses, would these families be mourning today?


Kat said...

Hi, Etta!

On this side of Atlantic, we had a 22 year-old girl (Victoria Nye)leaping to her death a few hours after being discharged from hospital last Thursday. She wanted to get help, went to hospital to get help and a few days later was told by the doctors:'We can't help you, you are normal and shouldn't be here'.

Doctors took away her last hope... She went home and jumped from the 13th floor.

Kat (

Maggie Beth said...

There seem to be shootings every day lately. I like to hope the majority of people reach out and find help ~ that is probably a very silly notion. Sometimes I also wonder if on (VERY RARE!) occasions a patient is not completely honest, with a healthcare professional. Maybe they are overwhelmbed by the terrror of admitting their true symptoms.

Just a few weeks ago we had a proffessor open fire in a meeting at a college. She shot (point blank) 3 professors, (killing them instantly) and critically wounded 3 others. This woman already had a questionable 'history'. Hindsight is 20/20 ~ she definitely was on the radar several times ~ but slipped by. But that does not bring friends and family back their loved ones. And, because of her insanity, she has cost her four children their mother...but maybe they are safer with her away from them......

One last thought ~ I do think some of this has to do with the hyperspeed we live our lives now. We are bumbarded with constant stimuli, and we told to keep moving, work harder, play harder ~ everything is harder. I don't think the brain was made to go as hard and fast as we push sometimes. HEY! Look! Even God rested ONE day! (SMILE)! Sorry this is so long ~ it is simply a very raw wound in our area right now.