Friday, March 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
.

Solano News

 
Brasher new president, CEO of Jelly Belly

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

Rio Vista singer ready for Rancho Cordova show

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Everyday life inspires model’s music

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

Hosting gig for comic, birthday party on weekend schedule

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
 
Spring Fling set to return to Rancho Solano

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Kids fishing day events return

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
 
Fairfield police log: March 25, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun police log: March 25, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

Lawyers dispute hoax claim, boyfriend says he was drugged

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Co-pilot believed to have purposefully crashed plane

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
L.A. river revamp to cost double previous projections

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Governor awaits $1B drought relief bill

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

US drops graphic leaflet to possible Islamic State recruits

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
AP Exclusive: Special ops troops using flawed intel software

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

State to alter ban on where sex offenders can live

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Grateful Oklahomans salvage belongings after killer storm

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
US: Chicago-area cousins planned US terrorist attack

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Report: Teen says mom killed her siblings found in freezer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

House OKs bipartisan Medicare doctor bill; fate up to Senate

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Talent agency wants Matt McConaughey speaking fee secret

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

US Thunderbolt II attack planes on training in Poland

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Syrian government shells kill 18 in south, activists say

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Turmoil in Yemen escalates as Saudi Arabia bombs rebels

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Russian, American ready for a year in space

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Tunisians assure Star Wars sets safe from Islamic State

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
.

Living

Today in History: March 27, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: March 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: March 27, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
Parents may be enabling son’s drinking and hurting his employment chances

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in preview March 27 to April 3, 2015

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
‘Downton Abbey’ to end after upcoming 6th season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

With ‘Downton Abbey’s coming demise, here are 5 past deaths

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Ken Burns unravels the mysteries of cancer in PBS film

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Review: Animated alien adventure ‘Home’ lands with a thud

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Entertainment Calendar: March 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic | From Page: B6

 
.

Sports

Prep swimming preview: City teams look to make big splash

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Marleau, Niemi lead Sharks past Red Wings 6-4

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Warriors can match franchise record for wins at Memphis

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
San Diego city, county join forces on bid to keep NFL

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Labor, developers reach deal on proposed Inglewood stadium

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Italians will pull out of America’s Cup if boats downsized

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Fiancee of Aaron Hernandez to be called to testify Friday

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Stanford’s VanDerveer, Notre Dame’s McGraw to face off

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Former Germany coach Berti Vogts joins Klinsmann’s US staff

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Officials OK demolishing Irwindale Speedway for outlet mall

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Signups for Friday, March 27, 2015

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B8

 
Sharks sign 2 college players

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Top-seeded Wisconsin hangs to beat North Carolina 79-72

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
49ers waive OL Jonathan Martin after 1 season with team

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Notre Dame races by Wichita State 81-70 for Elite Eight spot

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Kentucky overwhelms West Virginia 78-39 in NCAA Sweet 16

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

This date in sports history for March 27, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Mirim Lee leads LPGA Tour’s Kia Classic

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Charley Hoffman takes PGA lead in wind-swept Texas Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

.

Business

Range Rover offers an exclusivity that’s rich with irony

By The Washington Post | From Page: C1

 
Google’s new CFO gets $70M for defecting from Morgan Stanley

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Bankruptcy hearing could decide fate of RadioShack

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Microsoft wants US suppliers to give employees paid time off

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Lawmakers unhappy with new fracking rules

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Authorities go after crooked car deals in national crackdown

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Oil prices jump almost 5 percent as tensions mount in Yemen

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
New Samsung, HTC phones coming April 10 in US

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

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

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9