Bob Chiarelli is an Ottawa and provincial politician who is contemplating a bid for the Ontario Liberal leadership. This story appeared today in the Ottawa Citizen.
It's frustrating for me that no comments on this article are allowed, and I assume it is a way of protecting the man and the position from some of the more outrageous things that the public likes to say in comment boxes. If comments were allowed, I would respectfully take issue with the dismal depiction of schizophrenia as a life long brain disorder and chemical imbalance, and with the notion expressed in the article that "medications are so much better" these days - an opinion that is compromised by the mounting evidence about the ineffectiveness of the drugs and the side effects. I was astonished to read that Chiarelli's son Christopher was on 100 pills a day when he was first hospitalized. 100 pills a day? Did I read that right?
My sympathy is very much with Mr. Chiarelli and his family in their bereavement. My issue is with the continued spreading of pessismism, by the media and through the media, about "schizophrenia." How can one recover or help others to recover when the condition is draped in black cloth? So called "mental" illness is considered after all, mental, and therefore IS particularly amenable to a positive thinking approach.
Casual readers of the Citizen story will come away with the same dismal view of schizophrenia that has the effect of preventing the public at large from learning that, properly understood and handled, "schizophrenia" is not a life-time sentence. (Talk about stigma!) When I read articles like this, I ask myself, what if members of my extended family read this? Would they assume my son will eventually work full time, get married and lead an otherwise productive life, OR, would they, like the general public absorb the pessimistic message? My guess is the latter. Unlike me, my family hasn't needed to be up to speed on the latest research and controversies about the label, so they may rely on articles like these to tell them what's what.
I hope that Mr. Chiarelli will continue to work for mental health organizations, and will keep an open mind about the good news coming out of today's recovery movement.