Grant Rants

Archive for May 8th, 2012

Mental health and suicide

- May 8th, 2012

Greetings heathens, zealots, web denizens, and the rest of you!

Last week I wrote a story and a column about the death of David McIntrye, a 15-year-old from Smithville. In short, David was unable to find the help he and his parents desperately tried to get for him. He fell through the cracks for reasons that have yet to be made public, and while his parents scrambled to find him help, David killed himself.

I’ve been floored by the willingness of readers to come forward and share their stories since the first story on David’s case was published, both in our comment’s sections and in private phone calls and emails. The issue is clearly one that can no longer linger in the shadows.

Today, the Mental Health Commission of Canada will officially release its national strategy to improve our mental health system. I hope you continue to chime on the issue when we publish stories on the strategy. The more people take part in the discussion, the greater the chance that things will change and help the next David McIntyre that comes along.

So watch the Standard’s website later today.

Finally, one thing that is making me go a little ranty. For reasons that I don’t fully understand we talk about mental health as though it is something different from “physical health.” Maybe because mental health cannot be seen the way a broken leg can. I don’t know. But the fact is that a mental illness is a manifestation of activity in the brain, which is as physical as your arm or leg. It would be nice if we could stop referring to mental illness as though it is something that comes out of the ether instead of a physical problem that needs to be regarded as such. Maybe, just maybe, if we did, some of the stigma surrounding mental health would fade.