Friday, February 27, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

No shame in mental health help

wade kelvin column sig copy

By
From page A11 | August 14, 2014 |

I began writing today’s column weeks before Robin Williams lost his battle with depression Monday. If anything positive has come from this tragedy, it is that people are talking about depression and mental illness.

Mental illness really wasn’t on my radar screen until my brother Ken killed his girlfriend and committed suicide in 1990. On the surface, it didn’t make sense. My brother had a good job, owned a home, drove a new Camaro, had tons of friends and never wanted from female attention. In retrospect, his depression and self-medicating with more and more alcohol is clear.

Just like many physical diseases, depression and other mental illnesses can be hereditary. A person with a depressed sibling is five times more likely to develop depression. I know my family is high risk. Our paternal grandfather was hospitalized in an asylum for months. He later committed suicide.

Suicide is often the end of untreated mental illness. While no one wants to die, they don’t want to live a continuing nightmare that they don’t believe will change. The facts are chilling. While we focus on the 11,000 homicides by firearms every year, the 39,000 suicides and 713,000 trips to the emergency room for self-inflicted harm goes virtually unnoticed. Every day, more than 22 veterans kill themselves.

By far the largest group at risk for suicide is white males. Men complete suicide at four times the rate as women.

Part of the reason may be that men are far more reluctant to seek help. There’s the mistaken belief that mental illness reveals some kind of weakness. Men try to “tough it out.” In all my years of participating and helping facilitate survivors of suicide groups, the survivors ran probably 95 percent female. There’s no shame in needing help.

Before Robin Williams’ death, the only time mental illness made the national news is when some crackpot committed a horrific crime. In the aftermath of the Aurora, Colo., theater shootings, Sandy Hook, N.J., massacre and the demented virgin killing spree in Santa Barbara earlier this year, there was talk of keeping guns from those with mental illnesses. But nothing concrete materialized about getting people help.

On the flip side, it’s a mistake to believe that those with mental illness are always dangerous. Most people with mental illness are only a danger to themselves while most murderers are angry, evil or vengeful, not sick. But the fact that a tiny segment of mentally ill people commit awful acts should be incentive to do better outreach, screening and treatment.

For so long, mental illness has taken a back seat to physical illnesses in research dollars and public awareness. That needs to change.

What’s more important is where people can turn to get help. Call National Suicide Prevention at 800-273-8255, Solano County Crisis Services at 428-1131 or visit www.NAMI.org.

One thing we can all do is talk to someone we suspect is depressed. Ask if they’re contemplating suicide. If someone mentions suicide, take him or her seriously. Direct them to help and support them. As with any illness, everyone isn’t going to recover, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. Peace.

Kelvin Wade, a former Fairfield resident, is the author of “Morsels” Vols. I and II and lives in Sacramento. Email him at [email protected]

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 16 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Rita GoldenAugust 14, 2014 - 2:42 am

    Great article Kelvin Wade. I was just having a conversation with someone on a Facebook site yesterday. She said that people with depression are demon possessed. I told her she needs to educate herself on the subject of depression and then she accused me of trying to stir up strife. How sad that many people label those with depression and never try to understand or learn the reasons that so many people suffer from it.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • KelvinAugust 15, 2014 - 7:22 pm

    Thank you. Demon possessed? Wow. Yes, people do need to be better educated about mental health issues and it should be seen as no different than a physical issue.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895August 14, 2014 - 3:23 am

    ObamaCare requires health plans to include depression treatment and counseling. Use it.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Tony WadeAugust 14, 2014 - 7:03 am

    Outstanding, my brother. I love you.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • KelvinAugust 15, 2014 - 7:23 pm

    Thanks. I love you, too!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • JagAugust 14, 2014 - 7:56 am

    RW the rates are going up again and I think you will see a ton of people pay the tax and drop OC..... Kelvin it is sad to say but we live in the world of it is none of my business and people put their head down and look the other way,,,,

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895August 14, 2014 - 8:22 am

    The rates are going up but less than expected. And the taxes are going up too. The trend will be the other way.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895August 14, 2014 - 8:27 am

    Jag: I can see from your comments that you believe people should be left to deal with their own problems more than I do. Does Williams' death or Kelvin's column cause you to recalibrate that?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • JagAugust 14, 2014 - 9:29 am

    It is not about what I believe it is an opinion that people turn the other way on crime because they don't want to get involved and I also think in this day people turn the other way with these issues for the same reason.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895August 14, 2014 - 10:29 am

    Jag: I'm not sure I get that. Should the government provide counseling and treatment for people with clinical depression?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • TJ BairdAugust 14, 2014 - 8:59 am

    Kelvin, well written. It does seem that the problem is escalating. Although we can't solve all societal problems, this is one that we need to put much more effort and more resources into as we educate the public. I so appreciate the transparency that you provide in your writing!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • KelvinAugust 15, 2014 - 7:35 pm

    Thank you. If we could somehow reach people before they go over the edge, especially if they're going to hurt someone, that would be great. People almost always voice their intention to someone. It's tough.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • gmlgAugust 14, 2014 - 10:57 am

    I too have experienced a suicide, my best friend Mark who had a beautiful wife (my BFF) & 4 children, we were like family. It really affected me, I didn't understand why, but 7 years later, I now understand why!! WHERE CAN THEY GO GO FOR HELP/TREATMENT, EVERYTHING COSTS MONEY?? A person can call the Suicide hot line, they can be picked up by police & taken/placed into a hospital for up to 3 days treatment, then what?? .Whether it's mental, alcohol, etc problem where can they go for LONG TERM HELP, if they're HOMELESS, it's worse :-( HELP/TREATMENT COSTS MONEY MAJORITY OF PEOPLE DON'T HAVE, THEY REAALLY HAVE NO WHERE TO TURN!!!! On FaceBook: Out of the Darkness Overnight Walk

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • KelvinAugust 15, 2014 - 7:31 pm

    Sorry for your loss. It can be hard getting help. We used to just warehouse people with mental problems in horrible asylums. There weren't enough doctors for all the patients so they usually tried "narcosynthesis," just doping them up. For more severe cases they employed electro convulsive therapy and lobotomies. These hospitals and asylums were shut down and a lot of sick people ended up on the street. For the longest time many insurance plans barely covered mental health services if they did at all. It's gotten better but it's a struggle.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • JagAugust 14, 2014 - 10:57 am

    My comment was directed at Kelvin last paragraph (One thing we can all do) that is where I think people don't want to get involved, (sad to say) As to (should the Gov) be involved? that is another whole subject.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895August 15, 2014 - 1:33 am

    Jag: Given we can't count on self help, family, friends, or the charity of strangers, I was asking whether the government should strive to ensure every American has access to mental health care, particularly to combat depression.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    Solano News

     
    Lawyer: Defendant to testify in police shooting case

    By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A1

    Oakland author, vet talks about researching Vietnamese side of war

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Fairfield mayor ready to share a whale of a tale

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

    Nonagenarian recounts life as spy in World War II

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

     
     
    Republican women to hear about immigration reform

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

     
    2-day event will focus on bullying prevention

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

     
    SafeQuest Solano plans garage sale, seeks donations

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

    Kaiser offers Capoot scholarships

    By Bill Hicks | From Page: A4

     
     
    Wolk to chair committee on state’s wine industry

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

    Suisun City police log: Feb. 25, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

     
    Fairfield police log: Feb. 25, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

    .

    US / World

    Llamas on the loose trends on Twitter

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Two inured in hazmat explosion

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

    No charges yet for train crash truck driver

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

     
    After 67 years of marriage, couple dies holding hands

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Missing 400-year-old Italian books found in California

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Sacramento man pressured to remove swastikas

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Not guilty plea for suspect in Hollywood exec murder

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Feds: 3 accused in Islamic State plot vocal about beliefs

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

     
    Vandalism in Arizona shows the Internet’s vulnerability

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    Prosecutor: Mom craved attention, poisoned child with salt

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

     
    Saudi man convicted of conspiracy in ’98 US embassy bombings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    If Supreme Court says no, they’d lose health insurance help

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

     
    Panel: Use new meningitis vaccines only for outbreaks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    VA chief backs outside medical care as new program falters

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

     
    House GOP weighs new approach on Homeland Security

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    Ukraine, rebels start pulling back heavy weapons in the east

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

     
    ‘Jihadi John’ raised in UK, studied computers, reports say

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

    Militants abduct more Christians, smash ancient artifacts

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Opinion

     
    Greece v. Europe: Too soon to say who won

    By Clive Crook | From Page: A11

     
    Who’s in charge?

    By Bud Stevenson | From Page: A11

    .

    Living

    Today in History: Feb. 27, 2015

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Community Calendar: Feb. 27, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

    Horoscopes: Feb. 27, 2015

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

     
    I’m worrie about how my wife’s erratic behavior is affecting our kids

    By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

    .

    Entertainment

    Week in preview Feb. 27-March 5, 2015

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

     
    Conan O’Brien takes his show to Cuba for a special hour

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Review: Smith, Robbie pour on the charm in sharp ‘Focus’

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Custom dress Lupita Nyong’o wore at Oscars reported stolen

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    ABC’s Sawyer does prime-time prison special

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

     
    Q&A: Writer-director-actor Mark Duplass is a busy guy

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

    Actor Will Patton charged with DUI in native South Carolina

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

     
    AP Exclusive: Redmayne lends voice to “Thomas & Friends”

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

    Entertainment Calendar: Feb. 27, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

     
    Tea Leoni in a happy state as star of ‘Madam Secretary’

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

    TVGrid

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    Graceland brings Elvis back to his Las Vegas home

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

    .

    Sports

     
    A’s begin baseball’s mandatory domestic violence training

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

     
    Earthquakes set to open new MLS stadium

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

    LeBron scores 42, Cavs beat Warriors for 18th win in last 20

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

     
    AP source: 49ers to bid to host college football title game

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    Bulls say Rose to have surgery on Friday

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    NASCAR back on track for extra day of testing in Atlanta

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    No word on possible MLB discipline for Angels star Hamilton

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    Giants closer Casilla hit on shin during batting practice

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    LeBron not happy colleges recruiting 10-year-old son

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    IOC member, once critical of Rio, now sees ‘great progress’

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    Judge rules for Peterson, opening door for reinstatement

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    Herman survives windy day; McIlroy stumbles at Honda Classic

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    Roberts, NBA writers open discussion over locker room access

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    IOC relaxes rule on athletes and sponsors during Olympics

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    Nevada gambling regulators sign off on Olympic betting

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    Video shows Hernandez dancing near gas pump before killing

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    Kings’ Collison to have surgery, re-evaluated in 3-6 weeks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    .

    Business

    5 things to know about ‘net neutrality’

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Regulators approve tougher rules for Internet providers

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

    Volkswagen Jetta is a pleasure to live with, not just to gawk at

    By Washington Post | From Page: C1 | Gallery

     
    Strong reliability scores should help Buick brand’s rebirth

    By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

    Nissan executive known as ‘father of the Z’ dies at 105

    By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

     
    Medical marijuana passes tough first hurdle in Utah

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

    Applications for US jobless aid rise to 313,000

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

     
    Google looks for more revenue from ads in Android app store

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

    Walmart CEO wading through mounting issues

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

     
    Pew study: Americans still stressed despite improved economy

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

    Facebook allows users to ‘fill in’ gender option

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Donald Grimm

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Gabriel T. Traub

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    Maria Kraszewski

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Garfield

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Frank and Ernest

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Baby Blues

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    B.C.

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Get Fuzzy

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Rose is Rose

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Wizard of Id

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Zits

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Blondie

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Baldo

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    For Better or Worse

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Sally Forth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Dilbert

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Peanuts

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Beetle Bailey

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Pickles

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Crossword

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

     
    Cryptoquote

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

    Bridge

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

     
    Word Sleuth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

    Sudoku

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9