Posted by Charles Foster on Oct 18, 2019
"Mental Illness and Suicide" by Dave Jones
 
 
On Oct. 18, Dave Jones spoke to DMSB Rotary about mental illness and suicide.  He got our attention by telling us that his father killed his mother and subsequently committed suicide, and that his grandfather also committed suicide.
 
Dave has no formal training but, with a family history of mental illness, was triggered into action by the news about a young man in north county killing his grandmother with a hammer and his investigation into this event.  Dave has now spoken to about 16 Rotary and Kiwanis clubs and will soon speak to an Optimist club and to any other organizations that would like him to speak.
 
Dave’s intent is to inform the public about mental illness and that it is treatable, and to help reframe the public’s understanding of it.  He mentioned troubling statistics, including that middle-aged white men have the highest suicide rate, and over 50% of prisoners have some degree of mental illness and often receive little or no treatment.  He added that middle-aged white women have highest rate of depression issues and suicide attempts.
 
 
He also spoke of a lack of understanding that mental illness is a disease of the brain, with the stigma it carries, that mental illness is something that those afflicted with it can overcome, if only they tried harder.  Recognizing that those with brain cancer or colon cancer don’t face a stigma, Dave used the description, Cancer of the Mind, as a way to differentiate between a disease and personal choice.
 
Later Dave described events such as his father killing his mother as being caused by mental -illness-caused confusion or even love, not by anger or selfishness.  With proper recognition of mental illness as a disease, openness to discussions of it in its many forms, and proper treatment, Dave believes that we can get to zero suicides.
 
 
At the end, DMSB Club President Venky Venkatesh presented the speaker with the Joshua certificate that represents our club DMSB donating school supplies to schools in Malawi in the name of the speaker.
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