Thank you to all who sponsored the community conversation on mental health.
If two brothers have symptoms of constant fatigue, inability to concentrate, and confusion -- and one has diabetes and the other bipolar disorder -- you know these are signs he may not taking his medication correctly or following his counseling. We must redefine "imminent danger" and "illness." Is the person with diabetes different from the person with bipolar? Both are imminent danger. Is it a civil right to be as "crazy" as you want? Is it a civil right to be in a diabetic coma if that's what you "choose?" In the state of confusion caused by lack of insulin regulation, that might be his "choice," but if it was regulated back to normal I can say with certainty that the diabetic would prefer you get him help. It is no different for our family members with mental illness. Remove the stigma caused by the parallel universe of physical versus mental illness. Don't wait for them to be in criminal mode before allowing us to get them help without a court order. Humanize them and don't stigmatize them with the labels separating them from any other illness and treatment.
Thank you to Dennis Dashiell for being the master of ceremonies for this event and the sponsorship of Peace Health, Whatcom Psychiatric and The Bellingham Herald. Let's continue the conversation.