The anguish of mental illness afflicts our homes, schools, churches and the streets of our nation, with the piercing screams of its sufferers often ignored or undetected until the manifestation of the pain reveals itself through the media.
Recent reports on the suicides of a primary school pupil and a tertiary-level student add to the grim statistics that reveal a problem that is becoming more and more apparent, a problem which we cannot continue to ignore or that we wish did not apply to us personally or as community.
It is difficult to acknowledge that our children, our elderly or indeed any members of our families are affected by mental illness, in any of its forms. This may be because of the fear that one of our own becomes the object of gossip and ridicule and is branded as ‘mad’. It may also be due to the sense of helplessness and hopelessness, arising out of ignorance, about how this condition can be treated.