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“I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother” Sparks Blogger Debate About Mental Health

We need new ideas. What are yours?

In the wake of the tragedy that took the lives of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, a blogger from across the country was arguably the first to break through the noise and galvanize a debate around mental health.   

Liza Long’s blog post about raising a mentally ill child, “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother,” talks about her experiences raising her 13-year-old son, whom she describes as a gifted but unpredictable child who has threatened to kill her and himself. 

As she put it, “I love my son. But he terrifies me." 

Her blog post quickly went viral, got picked up by the The Huffington Post and others, earned a million likes on Facebook, and led to Long's appearance on CNN to talk about the way mental illness is stigmatized in America.

“I am sharing this story because I am Adam Lanza’s mother,” Long wrote. “I am Dylan Klebold’s and Eric Harris’s mother. I am James Holmes’s mother. I am Jared Loughner’s mother. I am Seung-Hui Cho’s mother. And these boys—and their mothers—need help.”

The Facts About Mental Health

The issue is enormous: An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older suffer from mental disorders in a given year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

That’s one in four people in the country, or about 57.7 million people. And more than 90 percent of people who commit suicide have a diagnosable mental disorder.

But many of us don’t know how to talk about these figures, or where to find the solution. The Newtown tragedy sparked a national conversation about gun control and legislative action--President Obama is already pushing for new laws to prevent gun violence. But Americans are just beginning their conversations with one another about mental health.

What do you think we should do? We know many of our young people are angry, depressed, anxious. Can we help each other as parents, teachers, neighbors?

We need new ideas. What are yours? 

Erika January 05, 2013 at 02:26 PM
Parents need to start acknowledging that their child has a mental disorder first....there is help out there. It is stressful, but if you research their are special diets, therapy, medication, family therapy. People are not given these options. The schools need to acknowledge it as well. They can obviously tell when something is wrong with a child and maybe more research should be done about this disorder. There are always organizations for everything else, but not mental disorders. Group meetings for parents would be great as well....but there is help if you try
jeff goldstein January 05, 2013 at 03:23 PM
"I am Adam Lanza's Mother" is about when a parent is able to identify that their child is severely and dangerously mentally ill there is little or no help available until their child breaks the law. McAfee confuses the issue by talking about "mental disorders" which can mean much less serious mental problems. There are probably thousands not millions of severely and dangerously mentally ill young men like Adam Lanza. There usually do seem to be a lot of warning signs. Some people probably require mandatory outpatient treatment or involuntary commitment programs. Since the old institutions have been closed there are no programs for them. Conn. is one of the worst states in terms of mandatory treatment.
Kris January 05, 2013 at 03:55 PM
There are programs such as PACT in NJ that serve the severely mentally ill while allowing them to live in the community. These are adults that have been in mental hospitals in the past but studies do show people do better when allowed to be members of a community. And with programs like the PACT team they can be monitored and supported and risk is continually assessed. Not all mental ill people are dangerous and I worry that those that have no aggression in their history will be judged by the actions of others. Also for these individuals and all of us we are entitled to our Own autonomy . That is an ongoing debate especially with regards to medication. To me the reduction of the stigma tied to mental illness should be a major focus!
gongshow22 January 05, 2013 at 06:02 PM
Treating mental illness is expensive for families. When your child gets violent beyond your control, you call the police. They get the situation under control and then the child is taken to the hospital. Three days later the child is home. Of course this will happen again with the same results. Yes this child sees doctors biweekly and is on meds. Attempted suicide is next. The mental health system in NJ has been wiped out by budget cuts. We need places where children with anger issues to get help...not a place that just medicates them. They can live normal lives if this help is available to parents.
Karen Buonomo & Starr Koplow January 05, 2013 at 08:03 PM
Gongshow22 You are right, and young people with mental illness have to concent to help or they are just out in the world. Schools and therapists should be able to have the person evaluated and the state should have mandatory outpatient therapy and medication programs for these people who are hurting. Most of them don't take their meds on a regular basis and they are worse off! Parents need help with these kids . . . if the kids don't want help parents cannot make them do it! It is a nightmare for the families and the people these mentally ill people affect. Most of them are not bad people, but people with an illness not being cared for! Mental illness is the same as any other illness . . . the illness needs to be cared for . . . it will never get better on its own!
Time2tell January 07, 2013 at 01:11 AM
My Paternal side of the Family has a Long History of mental Illness. Often when a child/parent has mental Illness, It is not dealt with, is denied by those ashamed'functioning family members, as It is The Family Seceret. Some mental Illnesses do not ripen untill after the AGE of majiority/or even 30!. THink about it' Kids do crazy things/ and if a person says something to the parents THey are either fought with or.worst retaliated against even worst liabilty against the authority? . It is a screwed up system.
Time2tell January 07, 2013 at 01:27 AM
Those in schools are Not 100%! They are Incapable of being in Charge ,they even have lied about Qualifacations to be in such a position! THEY canot make a Honest Judment call nor are good FACTual Choices continue to Play Games'with childrens education! What I have wittnessed is awful, THE PEOPLE in charge of special education , have a budget, sure' But Far too often 'too OFTEN there is a nasty force I call A Power Struggle ..and they Play GOD" I know I lived it with family,and fought for the right help. Even my child hood, none of those making choices would HELP ME! REFUSED to see my BLACK EYES and fat lips,I endured... AT 11me & my14yr'sister,were Abandoned,by mom left with out a clue, as to why or where she went with our family. We came home from school and all was gone. MOM the furniture, George and Judy, all gone! and we,heard zero for 6 months. Later as a adolescent I tried to run away, because I was getting beat. BUT I HAD no Adult to step up and get me to SAFTEY, NO Police officer that would Listen to me, then 2 foster homes later (one that was very very bad) so again At 16 I ran away from the bad enviorment.Got a apartment.
Time2tell January 07, 2013 at 01:31 AM
My Point? is....When a mental Illness goes undealt with in a family (I see it like living with a alcoholic) Life is same,dainand out, full of only Bad ,so then only BAD copeing skills develop, for the entire family "small and large children alike as well as well as Moms and DADS' often the House is filles with bad Role Modles.. screaming ,mental and physical ABuse... LIES...DENIAL a terriable thing when you have no role Modle. AND is why I am so adamant about PEOPLE in POWER I canot Tolerate being Bulied, and people that are in charge that are Liars ..WHEN THEY ABUSE THEIR position and LIE"or avoid facts'Knowing they are wrong,and Have the back up of the rest of the LIARS.....(the pp in charge) it is a awful scenario, so when ASK" did not hang the Butterfly... as promised in the contract' I STILL SEEK a VALAD Aknowlegment from the TOWNS leader and WANT MY $ and admit I DID NOT STEAL! I continually FIGHT for THE TRUTh and Will not LIE down,I was raised by a Alcholic and My dad Has mental Illness .. I see How easy it would be to ignore or not deal,and IS WHY I DEAL! And How the DYSFUNCTIONAL LEADERS of ART groups and TOWNS, adminstatrion, GETS AWAY with being such awful communities, That are not to be trusted..and why there is so much STRIFE with in that ORGAINIZATION... IT IS AWFUL! I am a adult now, and I can speak up' to THOSE people THAT ARE screwing with peoples days' art things and property... Concernes and parking! and so on
Time2tell January 07, 2013 at 01:39 AM
to end these rant' I will close with THIS: IT is NEVER and I SAY NEVER a good thing to have GOVERNMENT tell anyone what or how to do anything' It is Family and Friends THAT need to be Honest,and step up' My father in the end, was single,after a botched surgery, THEY stone walled his kids,and TIED HIM DOWN DAILY" they tourted him and me' for 6 months... untill death he did not sit stand,dring eat.and HE had awfull bed sores and Infection... They took advantage of the fact that HE had mental Illness,and Then Abused their power to hid their mistakes that made him hemmorage' needing a ventalator' and allowed a , dysfunctional PARINOID sibbling of days who was old and was on the volinteir commitee ,and despite NJ law saying children are 1st in like when no advanced directive THEY allowed her,to be the POA" and She was embarressed of mental illness' as she herself is not 100%' as some of her other sibblings as well. SO I could not get a second opinion and get dad COMFORT CARE... IT IS THE dysfunctional Familyies that NEED intervention by the functional families,cause Government can not take care of OUR OWN LIKE WE CAN! UNDERSTAND! NO ONE" special needs needs to LISTEN TO MOTHERS" when they approach and daughters and sisters' PLEASE understand' it can be hell.... trying to, MAKE sence of LIES and Abuse of POWER! Please if you have a spot' chance to make a chnge' PLEASE DO THE RIGHT Moral Thing! peace
Time2tell January 07, 2013 at 01:50 AM
JEff, I agree 100000% With the facilities closed and a right to self' or what ever it is called, It is a mad Thought that They allow The mentally Ill to be free cause they want to be,and Most are Homeless " Unable to care for themselves or contribute to any thing other than survival. WHEN the reason is the dam bloddy Law suits and the INABILITY to care for care own' MY father refused to conform,and so he was homeless,despite having 40K+ and a pension and so forth. HE Is dead 6 years now... I had been his sort of guardian BEfore I moved to Arizona, when my son was a toddler, I took him to appointments,fed him cleaned his apartment(before he encountered 2 prostitutes that stole his cc's and more) It is HARD" and when There able to choose,and no one MUST HEAR WHAT FAMILY SAYS" that is the KEY.."how often have I heard They are a adult now" It has not been a easy road with my father my brother and now my own child... I SAY" to those in charge" STOP PLAyING GAMES!" with LOVED ONES" using the HIPAA as a tool to hid behind,and orentation to self' is not real.. OUT CLOSEST LOVED ONES KNOW US best... LISTEN and stop B-sing and abusing your positions! OPEN THE facilities and TRAIN THE WORKERS! both my children now missionary in UK and in college,and THEIR health care is very self help and they do Listen and they do share the truth! with people. HERE IN AMERICA the Hospitals are self Governing IT IS BAD and risk management TRUMPS UALITY AND SAFTEY,and FAMILY! AND CARE! dangit!
Time2tell January 07, 2013 at 01:59 AM
Programs Like that are only as good as those that run them and work for them. I have seen good and I have seen awful! And if some one does not want to BE MONITERED THEY DO NOT HAVE TO BE! Now and there is a Majior diffrence between MENTALLY ILL, RETARDATION and so forth' to which do you speak of? DO you like the Monthly Injection of Thorzine? are you versed in Akathesia?and EPS? if NOT' go read...... because the fact is the side effects from Mental Medications are the very reason the system does not work,and basically a program will work only when the person is wanting to be complyant or cort ordered.... WHEN IS ANY DEMANDS MADE to get shots OK UNLESS THERE had been a reason to do so? "children harmed'rape'self harm' and so on.... DO you include depression? obsession? in this Program? what diagnosis are you referanceing?
Time2tell January 07, 2013 at 02:07 AM
AMEN! or they do intake, say they are stable send home with a prescription that is not affordable and KNOW DARN WELL YOU CANT BUY it and they say not their problem! THEN the cycle Begins! IT IS THE lobbyists and the Pharmaceuticals THAT play with the sick,and a large portion could be helped if we could get some one TO hear what the facts are,and LISTEN and not be GRANDIOSE, if you cant take care of yourself, Then your parent/adult Child if you are single ..and if willing should be able to have some INPUT! THIS is how I feel ,THEY ARE SICK so they NEED US TO RALLY for GOOD HELP not crappy Orientation to self,and so forth IT IS THE secular progressive mind set' new age..thinking that ' in reality It is the facility and or Physician or therapist or case worker who is deciding what that person is THINKING "orientating to self about! ARE THEY OR anyone trully a MIND READER? no but FAMILY KNOWS MOST LIKELY BEST and more than anyone...even if they were a bad role model when Push comes to shove" what do you think?

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