Here’s a particularly powerful paragraph from a great article by psychiatrist Lloyd Sederer in The Atlantic. He’s talking about families as first responders in mental illness, in the wake of Newtown.
“No mental health system will ever be able to identify serious behavioral problems as early as a family. We have tried. But “random” acts of violence are not so random. In addition to privacy and civil rights requirements that limit how families can assist their loved ones, families have too often been led to doubt what they see, to attribute problems to phases in a life (like adolescence or being older) or to external events (like loss or disgrace). At other times, these families know very little about mental illness, or addictions, television notwithstanding — or consider these to be problems others have, not them. Or they feel guilty, or ashamed, or just do not know where to turn.
These are real and remediable problems.”
In Psychiatric Illness, Families Must Be Our First Responders
No mental health system will ever be able to identify serious behavioral problems as early as family.