Dear Sister in Christ,
Just last week, a 31-year-old mentally-ill woman died in Portmore, Jamaica. They say she starved to death, that she was more or less abandoned by family. Her body was found dumped somewhere, like garbage.
It breaks your heart, doesn’t it?
Even though mental disorders are actually quite common, society’s ignorance about them remains baffling. Incidents like this bother me not only as a human being, but also as someone who suffers from an obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). The truth is though, society’s treatment of people with mental diseases, especially those with schizophrenia, is cruel and judgemental. How many people suffering from clinical depression with suicidal thoughts are told to just “snap out of it”? How many people with schizophrenia are considered to be demon-possessed? And how many people with any sort of mental disorder are just considered to be weak-minded?
Most of this stems from ignorance no doubt, but in the end, we are hurting possibly millions of people the world over who often suffer alone, who are afraid to admit to themselves and to others that they need help, and so they never get the help they need and deserve, as God’s beloved children. Mental illness is robbing us of many of our people, with great potential and a great purpose designed by God, and the rest of us just look on I guess, happy that it has not happened to us.
This is a call for people to educate themselves about mental illness, and to never trivialise the issue. We are still called to be our brother’s keepers, and the mentally ill happen to be among those who need the most “keeping”.
I hope this young lady from Portmore is in a much better place now.
Daughter of a King