When is this country going to take the issue of mental illness seriously? How many more people are going to be maimed, injured and murdered before we admit that we have a national mental health crisis?
Miriam Carey’s death comes on the heels of Aaron Alexis’ rampage at the D.C. Naval yard that killed 12 people and wounded 8 more two weeks earlier and their similarities are eerie. Both Carey and Alexis were originally from Brooklyn, New York and lived in vibrant African American neighborhoods that are approximately 5 miles apart. Both Carey and Alexis allegedly had anger issues that were not properly addressed and Alexis’ family reports her having postpartum depression after the birth of her one-year old daughter. It is also reported that Carey thought President Obama was stalking her that might explain why she rammed her car into a barricade in front of the U.S. Capitol building, did not heed warnings from the Capitol police to stop and engaged in a high-speed chase that ultimately resulted in a shooting that caused her death while her one-year old daughter was in the car. Gratefully, the one-year baby was not injured in the midst of the madness.
Carey and Alexis both held “good” jobs as a dental hygienist and a civilian military contractor yet both exhibited behaviors that should have been addressed. Carey’s former employer fired her because of “her temper.” Her family admits that she had “mental issues” but did anyone do anything about it? We need to remove our heads from the proverbial sand and stop denying that we are in a mental health crisis. There needs to be emergency hotlines that people can call for psychiatric care and mental health should stop being treated like a stepchild in our medical communities.
There are many more people walking among us who are just as ill as Miriam Carey and Aaron Alexis. The question is: do we have the resources and commitment to provide proper treatment before it’s too late?