Thursday, February 16, 2006

Mental illness, stigma, and suffering

Yet one more tragic story has surfaced.

Dena Schlosser, 37, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in the November 2004 death of her baby, Margaret. She was not taking her anti-psychotic medication at the time of the slaying.

Well, was there anyone to help this woman before she killed her baby? Someone to see how sick she was, and that she desperately needed help? Was there someone who could have intervened and helped Dena and saved Magaret's life? Yes there were at least two people: Dena's husband and her pastor. However, it seems Dena's pastor holds an ancient view of mental illness.

"I do not believe that any mental illness exists other than demons, and no medication can straighten it out, other than the power of God," said Doyle Davidson, the 73-year-old minister of the Water of Life Church, which the Schlosser family attended several times a week.

Dena Schlosser's attorneys have faulted her husband and the church's beliefs for discouraging medical treatment. Schlosser's husband, John Schlosser, testified Tuesday that he did not seek medical help when his wife told him she wanted to "give the baby to God" the day before their daughter's death.

I don't care what your religious beliefs are. When your wife informs you that she wants to give your daughter to god, YOU INTERVENE. Now one life is over and another is ruined. Thanks so much, guys. You were really a big help. Does Margaret's father weep to god for taking his baby away? Does he weep because he turned his back on his wife when she was desperately ill? Does he weep because he's profoundly stupid?

Oh, one note to Julia Glick, the author of the story. It's bipolar disorder, not manic depression. Take my hand and jump into modern times with me!

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