The most prevalent theme in the news these last few days to me is mental illness, although it is not always apparent in the content which it is reported.
The kind of mental illness that causes someone to desire his child sexually, kill her mother and kidnap her so that he can have her to himself.
The kind of mental illness that drives someone to hide Doctor's notes and get in the cockpit of an airplane, flying it into the side of a mountain, killing himself and 150 people.
The kind of mental illness that compels a mother to cut off the head of her 3 month old daughter.
The kind that pushes a mother to brutally abuse her four children all of their life and ultimately kill two of them.
There seem to be no measures in place that can circumvent these tragedies, or ways that they can be prevented. In cases where these individuals had been diagnosed and were being treated, Doctors were hindered by doctor-patient confidentiality and in most cases no diagnosis had been made prior to these unspeakable acts.
Incredibly, no one close to these individuals knew what they were going through or what they were capable of.
As a child, the only memories I have of mental illness, are the family whispers of an uncle who returned from Vietnam crazy and of an aunt's best friend's husband who suddenly became violent and eventually was stabbed to death in a bar fight. It wasn't until I was an adult that I reflected on depression versus clinical depression or bi-polar disorder versus melancholy, and I realized so many close to me were afflicted.
Although still a taboo subject, social media keeps the spotlight on this with so many celebrities publicly battling their demons. Artists like Charles Hamilton who had a complete breakdown, losing everything, is now conquering his depression and getting a second chance. Television shows like Empire that showcase a powerful highly intelligent yet flawed person with bi-polar disorder keep us deliberating on something so close to home to so many of us.
Keeping the discussion about mental illness going is what we have to do because nothing will change until the medical industry can reach out to employers and law enforcement to amend policy to deal with the under and mis-diagnosis, the over medication and the inability to advise those who can be potentially and horrifically affected.