Keller @ Large: Mental Illness Too Big To Ignore
BOSTON (CBS) – Boston Mayor Marty Walsh put it best: the guy who pulled the bomb hoax over at the marathon finish line the other night, Walsh said, just “wasn’t right.”
That’s exactly the point the guy’s mother made in her heartbreaking apology statement Wednesday.
Listen to Jon’s commentary:
“Our son…has been battling mental issues for several years,” she wrote, explaining that the kid’s issues include bipolar disorder, a terrible condition marked by extreme mood swings. “I have two sons who struggle with mental illness and I have had to constantly fight for twelve years to get them the help they need. Advocating for assistance from mental health providers for my sons has been a full-time job.”
My heart goes out to this woman, first because she had the class to apologize for her son’s actions, but also because her plight is an important reminder of one of our biggest social problems.
Mental illness can claim any of us, and even those who avoid it suffer its costs. Think of how often the crimes that horrify us the most, or the homelessness and drug abuse that appall us, involve untreated or mistreated mental illness.
And yet we seem so intent on ignoring the problem.
At a recent conference I covered, former Congressman Patrick Kennedy recalled meeting his new doctor and providing him with a long list of the medications he takes to control his bipolar disorder, and one he uses to control his asthma.
For the next 20 minutes, Kennedy said, all the doctor wanted to talk about was the asthma.
And while we’re shaking our heads about the finish line hoax, we might also consider how that doctor’s tunnel vision – as Marty Walsh might put it – just wasn’t right.
You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.
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