Thursday, July 19, 2012
This past week, patrons waiting at the front door of the Beverly Hills Public Library were subjected to harassment by a mentally-ill man who appeared to be suffering from homophobia, for starters. For example, at one point he called a male patron a "cockroach". When the individual reached for his glasses, the demented fellow (surrounded with a half-a-dozen-or-so paper bags at his feet) proceeded to level other bizarre comments his way.
"Don't bother reaching for those glasses, you won't need them. I've been you down at the grocey store in West Hollywood (Pavilions) with those other cockroaches. A truck is coming down here to get all of you," he hissed under his breath as patrons waiting for the doors to open stood listening in shock.
Then, he told the people waiting there, that they were all on camera.
"You're on television. So, don't try anything."
Some folks were so fearful of this gentleman - dressed in shabby clothes with dark glasses and a hat pulled down over his face - that they were inclined to leave and return later.
Obviously, the man has psychological problems and needs therapy.
He strikes me as the type who would walk into the library one day with an automated rife and shoot everyone.
I trust that the Beverly Hills Public Library staff will take action to ensure that no one is abused further in the future.
In view of the foregoing, I thought it might be a good idea to publish a post I ran last year on mental illness. It is reprinted herein below.
Just take a trip to the local library, a gander at a couple of anonymous posts on a popular blogsite on the Internet, or a stroll through the streets of downtown Los Angeles (and elsewhere) and it will become obvious that mental illness is a growing problem in this country today.
Sometimes there is an elephant in the room, but no one wants to talk about it.
But the issue is a serious one.
Should we just ignore the problem - (will it just go away?) - or should we tackle the issues head on?
Today, in our complex - and at times - baffling and troubling society it appears more people are feeling alienated, left out, or just plain angry.
Many are crying out for help.
We need to listen.
Medical findings of Researchers
A mental illness or mental disorder is a clinically significant psychological pattern that occurs in an individual and is usually associated with distress or a disability that is not expected as part of normal development or the culture itself.
Most agree, there has been a better understanding of mental illness over the past couple of decades.
Despite the fact - definitions, assessments, and classifications of mental disorders can vary - criteria listed in the ICD, DSM and other manuals are widely accepted by mental health professionals.
Categories which may require diagnosis include - mood disorders, anxiety disorders, psychotic disorders, eating disorders, developmental disorders, and personality disorders, for starters.
In many cases, there is no single accepted or consistent cause for mental disorders.
But, mental disorders have been found to be common in over one-third of the population in most countries that have reported sufficient data to track and document.
Mental health services may be based in hospitals or in the community where mental health professionals have the facilities to diagnose individuals using different methodologies.
Psychotherapy and psychiatric medication are two major treatment options that may be worth considering.
Supportive interventions may appear to be a harsh approach, but are worthwhile pursuing, nonetheless.
In some instances, treatment may be involuntary where legislation allows.
A number of activists in the field have campaigned for changes in mental health services and attitudes about the disease - especially in view of the fact - there is a widespread problem with stigma and discrimination.
Information provided by the National Institute on Mental Health
Mental disorders are common in the U.S. and Internationally.
An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older - about one-in-four adults - suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.
When applied to the 2004 U.S. Census residential population estimate for ages 18 and older the figure translates to 57.7 million people.
Even though mental disorders are widespread in the population, the main burden of illness is concentrated in a much smaller proportion (about 6 percent, or 1 in 17) who suffer from a serious mental illness.
In addition, mental disorders are the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and Canada for the ages of 15-44.
Many people suffer from more than one mental disorder at a given time.
Nearly half (45 percent) of those with any mental disorder meet criteria for two or more disorders with severity strongly related to comorbidity.
The Impact of Mental Illness on Society
The burden of mental illness on health and productivity in the United States and throughout the world has long been underestimated.
Data developed by the massive "Global Burden of Disease" study conducted by - the World Health Organization, the World Bank, and Harvard University - reveal that mental illness (including suicide) accounts for over 15 percent of the burden of disease in established market economies such as the United States.
This is more than the disease burden caused by all cancers.
*Thanks to World Health for image of "Mental Mask" featured above.