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  •  Perhaps the saddest and most difficult.... (17+ / 0-)

    ..thing in life is for a parent to bury a child. And the fact that the child took his own life makes it even sadder.

    I saw it in my own family, when my aunt and uncle lost their first-born son to cancer at age 15. They tried to bring meaning to it by raising money to fight cancer, and did so in memory of their beloved son. "So others may live," was the name of their effort, which raised considerable sums of money while helping them to cope with their loss.

    It is not my place to tell the Warren family how to react to this family tragedy, but I humbly suggest they consider the mental health crisis in our nation.

    My own doctor gave his perspective to me shortly after the Sandy Hook massacre, which he called a failure of public policy and "America's greatest failure:"

    We emptied and then closed our mental hospitals, choosing instead to have the mentally ill live in our communities. But then we defunded those community programs, leaving many who need help with nowhere to turn.

    The mentally ill are often unable to hold a job, and therefore have no health insurance. And even those with health insurance are unable to get help because insurers pay so little that many therapists don't take insurance.

    "The best therapists," he said, "spend their time talking to people from Chevy Chase and Potomac who just need somebody to talk to, and who can pay for it. These people may be lonely, or may have the blues, or may need to talk their way through some kind of problem. They're not really sick."

    "But the people who really need help the most can't get it," he said, "even if they have insurance."

    "And then you wonder why we have people with mental problems walking around with guns," he said, shaking his head.

    My heart goes out to the Warren family. I hope that they - and others - will focus on the mental health crisis in our nation and spur Americans to action - so others may live.

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