12.30.2013 11:23 AM

To George and his kids

I am so, so sorry. What a terrible shock.

12 Comments


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    Cameron Prymak says:

    Yes, our condolences to the family.


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    Iris Mclean says:

    This is more than sad. It’s tragic.


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    Ian Howard says:

    “Mental Health”

    That this family with the resources and understanding of our healthcare system could not find a cure for the depression that drove this man to seek a final solution for what made his life unbearable tells you just how difficult mental illness is to treat.
    There is no magic bullet, no single medical solution, or set of healthcare policies that could have prevented this. The starting point is awareness and providing easier access into the system so that problems can be identified as early as possible. It is heartbreaking to watch people become more and more isolated by their mental illness while feeling powerless to help. I suspect that won’t change anytime soon.


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      Craig C-E says:

      You raise such an important point, Ian; mental health is such a complex beast that money and privilege aren’t enough to maintain it. In general, we like to identify one problem and one solution – mental illness defies simple diagnosis and one-shot solutions. There’s common reference to “co-morbidity”, meaning one person can (and often does) have multiple issues. You can have a learning disorder like ADHD and be diagnosed as being on the Autism Spectrum yet display many characteristic traits of bipolar disorder, for instance. Which condition should be treated?

      This also fails to take into account cultural background, family life, work conditions, other related factors (like diet or general discrimination through, say homophobia). While there are a great number of treatments, drug and otherwise, available to help people with mental illness lead productive, fulfilling lives, we’re in the leechcraft stage when it comes to symptom-based diagnoses and broad social understanding.

      The health of the people isn’t a jurisdictional issue, it’s a shared opportunity. There’s a role for governments at all levels to play; more to the point, right now we have many leaders and prominent politicians of all Parties with lived experience, direct or familial, of mental illness and it’s broader impacts. With a growing awareness of the impact of mental illness on workplace function and productivity, there’s a role for the Private Sector, Unions and everyone else to play in being part of the solution.

      If it’s true we need a Big Bad to unite against, this is it – the social and human costs of mental illness. It’s a tough nut to crack, but with a bit of help from our friends, some hope and hard work and a willingness to think differently, it’s doable.

      But it absolutely needs to start with education. People at all levels need to develop a better understanding of what mental illness is, what it isn’t, and how we collectively impact it positively and negatively, consciously and unconsciously.

      Any Party (or Parties) that makes a shared, holistic mental health strategy a key part of its platform will find a lot of support, but that’s not why they should do it; they should put forward such a plan because we can no longer afford not to have one.


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        dave says:

        Final decade of my teaching career was with special class of teens not able to, or not allowed to go to mainstream schools. I had a broad mix of kids. As the decade moved on(1990’s) I kept learning more and more about this kind of thing. What helped me above all was the may findings from medical research that I could read up on and take workshops and courses in. Suicidal behavior happened and I was able to get help from these sources so that I had some ways of noticing and trying to do something. It is terrible to lose a kid.
        So, I figure the research types need feedback form front liners, front liners need clear help form researchers. I think the main thrust of research has to be from the federal government…and I think it’s better if the feds fund the research fully, and not depend on pharmaceuticals for funding or too much meddling. Pharmaceuticals have a bit different agenda in these things. My local junior college and UNBC campus had some help as well, and the thing there is to make sure front liners are kept aware of what help is available.

        Thing is, you know when you fail…it’s tougher to know when you are successful with what you are doing…


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        david ray says:

        Have to disagree there Craig. I’ve suffered with this black dog for more than thirty years and this is what I have learned.
        1- Most mental health professionals are sicker than you are but won’t admit it because it pays so well.
        2- The drugs work or at least stabilize so you can carry on.
        3- Human beings were never meant to adapt to so much change so quickly. We cannot evolve this fast. It’s impossible.
        4-Stop trying to fit your round whatever into a square. It won’t work. Sooner or later it will break.
        5-Don’t talk. Listen. Really listen. To the buzz in your brain and the energy all around you. There are a lot of things worth hearing if we just put the toys away long enough to do so.
        6-We are over-thrilled and unfulfilled and the constant need for adrenaline solves nothing.
        7-If you waiting to earn enough so you can do what you really want it won’t happen. If there is something you would rather be doing more than anything else in the world then go do that. You cannot be depressed and do whatever that something is at the same time. Can’t be done. Yes, there is a hell of price to pay for that but so what.
        8- ymmv.


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        Ian Howard says:

        For me the death of a friend was the point where I realized just how little I knew.
        My friend had turrets, OCD , a cocaine addiction, an abusive childhood, an alcoholic mother who committed suicide, and other problems. Off and on he would work for me and I would pick him up. After many years his behavior became increasingly erratic and their were many mornings when I left seething as he would not appear.
        He finally told me after a stint in rehab, that those mornings I had been waiting for him before finally giving up, that he was fully dressed and ready to go to work but he simply couldn’t force himself to leave his apartment. It just never occurred to me that for some people leaving their room was a traumatic experience.
        Over a period of time I watched him abuse both his prescription meds and narcotics until he was just a shell of his old self. To be frank his behavior became so bizarre that those of us who knew him drifted away not knowing what to do. Eventually he overdosed on his anti depressants and whether it was a deliberate choice or just an accident as he tried to cope with the pain of living I will never know. The saddest thing was that nobody knew he was dead for five days as he had become so isolated.
        I will never be able to fathom just how miserable his life was and I only caught glimpses of how tortured his existence was. But now I have had a glimpse and it makes me a firm believer that Craig C-E is absolutely right that the solution, if it exists starts with education and involvement of every aspect of society. This should not be a political issue because if as a collective we cannot all agree that we need to care enough to identify at risk individuals and provide different approaches for care we will fail.


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    Max says:

    Very tragic. It goes to show you can know someone for a long time, see them often and still have no idea of the private struggles they are facing or the extent of it. Also, you can have the best care in the world for cancer, heart disease, diabetes or whatever the case may be, and still not fair well. Heartbreaking all the same.


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    Derek Pearce says:

    I know from personal experience that depression can be an absolute demon in one’s life– and as Craig says, depression often comes in a mixture of other issues and it’s difficult to separate or “treat” them all. I feel for his family left behind. Rest in peace.

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