Content Warning: This blog post contains talk of suicide. If you’re having social thoughts and/or thoughts of self harm, stop reading now and go talk to someone! If you’re in Canada, here are some crisis lines.
When a person with mental illness commits a violent act or is killed in a police encounter — rare events, despite the public attention they receive — the root causes are examined in trials, inquiries and inquests that bring accountability and hope for systemic change. But the lives that end quietly as a result of addiction and suicide often come with no public outcry, no promise things will be different next time.
The tragic stories are strikingly similar. A desperate family seeks help for a mentally unwell child and finds the system impossible to navigate, the opportunity for early intervention easily lost. Crises are met with short and ineffective hospitalizations. When the health system fails, parents turn to police, viewing the justice system as the only direct route to treatment. Criminal charges and jail time exacerbate the problems, and the cycle continues.
Things can be better, but I don’t blame the system 100%. Mental illness can be unpredictable, and vengeful. I got a taste of it from my own this weekend, and I’m going to regret it every single day. Yet I cannot blame the system, blame the people where I’m living, and I’m not even sure blaming myself 100% for giving into it will really help heal and move on. It won’t undo things, and blaming the system 100% won’t bring Jason back. 😦
But that doesn’t mean there is no room for improvement, for there is always room for that. There should be more concerns and investigations into the quiet passings of those who battle with mental illness. It should not take a mass shooting for such outcry to happen.
Compassion, understanding, and patience is key for these tragedies. NO CONDEMNATION OF THE PATIENT. And as a person of faith, prayer is also needed I think. Prayer that God in his grace will spare my life should I try to end it, and that He would protect my will to live. Prayer that their deaths are not condemned sinful, but as a life who lost the battle their condition, in spite of fighting bravely.
For the record, no, I don’t think suicide because of mental illness is the unforgivable sin. I don’t even really think it is sin. Rather it is when a person’s mental illness beats them. Just like the body can lose the fight with cancer, the mind can lose the fight with depression or BPD or schizophrenia, of etceterra. God will welcome them with open arms into His presence, I think, where they are finally free.
Dear God: I still pray that I do not end up there prematurely. Still, give Jason and all the others in your presence who lost the battle to mental illness a big hug for me.