I’ve just spent my whole morning hanging out around the convenience stores near my neighborhood high school. That’s because my friend asked me to buy out medication so there wouldn’t be any for his kid to steal. My friend is what I would call a professional dad. He has been advocating for his kids for a long time. And my friend thinks he knows that his kid has a suicide plan.
I know a lot of people are hyper aware that we have a mental health crisis on our hands in this country. According to the CDC teenage suicide has increased by 76% in the last decade. The thing is I’m not sure that a person can truly understand suicide unless they’ve faced a crisis themselves. Suicide is pain relief. That’s the truth.
As parents we are pretty much left to handle everything on our own because our school system would rather not deal with these kids at all. And the schools do legally share this responsibility. The problem is everyone gets hurt when we advocate for the kids. Teachers get hurt. Families get hurt. Our kids don’t get what they need. It’s a terrible situation. Our school system has forgotten that education is a human service. I’ve been working in the system so I know what’s really going on. It’s a political business. It’s wrong.
There were too many products at these two stores for me to buy and people actually do need these medications, so instead I took it all off the shelves and got the store managers to agree to keep them off for a few hours. The people I talked to who work at the stores felt helpless. It’s scary. A person can end a life in so many ways if that’s what they set their mind to. Sometimes sick minds do sick things.
Luckily, my friend is relentless. And smart. He is a fighter. I think his kid is, too. I can tell. I’ve seen these kinds of things up close. I have kids and we have had a lot of sickness in our house. It would be an enormous understatement to say that it’s difficult to get the kind of help we need when we are sick these days.
And it’s not just kids. I know people are going through similar things with their aging parents. Suicide rates are climbing across the board. It’s just plain hard. It can make you feel helpless sometimes. Sometimes that becomes overwhelming. And the truth is that sickness can be contagious. That’s why it’s scary. I think we can all relate to that right now.
Here’s the thing. Can someone please call Oprah or something because I’m beginning to feel like a broken record and everyone needs to know. MENTAL ILLNESS IS NO DIFFERENT THAN ANY OTHER ILLNESS. Does it really matter if it’s your brain or some other part of your body that gets sick? It makes no difference. Sick is sick. Let’s just call it what it is. This is a pain crisis.