Mental Illness

This is the fourth time I have begun this post. I was not satisfied with the results of the other three so they have gone into the trash can.

As many of you know I serve as Chaplain for a local fire department. Usually this entails hanging out at the fire house and talking to the guys. On occasion it gets a little more exciting that that. While out for lunch the other day, my pager went off then my phone rang. “We’ve had a jumper” the voice on the other end of the phone said.

It seems a young woman leaped from the fourth floor of her apartment building. At the time of the call the woman was still alive and being airlifted to a larger hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts. Little is know about this woman other than this is not the first time she has tried this.

My role in situations like this is to participate in what we call a debriefing. We gather all those involved in the event and have them speak about what they saw and what they did and how they feel about all of this. We have learned, through experience, that the sooner we get folks to vocalize what they have seen, the faster they are able to put it behind them and get back on the job. Basically you learn to deal with it because seeing something like that will stay with you for a long time. All that responded did what they are trained to do and feel that they did everything possible for the woman.

But, what would lead someone to do this. What would cause someone to crawl out on a ledge and push themselves off? This is part of the mystery of metal illness. We see people everyday on the street, at work, at church, and in our own homes that might be going through some personal hell. This poor tortured soul did what she thought she needed to do. I am not sure if she is still alive but based on her injuries I hope for her sake she is not. I hope she is at peace and in a better place.

Mental illness in the silent killer and affects more people than we think. As the economy continues in the direction it is heading we will see more of this has people who feel they have no other choice but to end their own life, will take it. We will also see, as the economy continues in the direction it is headed, that services to people who are the most vulnerable in our society are cut or discontinued all together.

Please pray for this woman and please pray for all of those suffering from mental illness, those who care for them and those affected by their mental illness. Yes that’s right there are other affected by mental illness who do not suffer from the actual illness. The families and loved ones suffer along with the person. So please pray for all of them. Pray also for the professional that assist and in this case the professionals who responded to the incident and the doctors and nurses who treated her.

1 Comment

  1. I think that by the time a person throws themselves off a building they are way past the point of calling for help.They have made the decission and are following through on the plan.
    Its to bad that by standers have to pick up the pieces and deal with the trauma.
    Its sad when a person can see nothing good left but being dead.
    Its important to know your neighbor.Just saying hello or smiling at some one may mean a great deal more then you will ever know.linda

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