Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Missing mentally ill

These stories rarely make national headlines. But, for the family of an adult with a severe mental illness who has gone missing, it’s nerve-racking and devastating. The families know the danger their loved one is facing.

For a person experiencing delusions as the result of untreated severe mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, following their delusions may seem logical. Meanwhile, families are left to wait, wonder and worry about their loved-one who is unable to care for themselves without appropriate medication.

In California, Donald Wayne Tomason’s father is still clinging to hope that his 33 year-old son with bipolar disorder who has been missing since February, will return.

According to news stories, there has been “no sign of the 33-year-old, who has delusions of being chased when not on medication to treat bipolar disorder”

Tomason’s father says he has “catastrophic fantasies” about what has happened to his son.

Unfortunately these stories are not uncommon. Last week in Missouri, a 67 year-old who suffers from schizophrenia was reported to be missing for more than a month, and in Texas a 47- year-old man with a mental illness has been reported missing for at least a week. The families of both of these men are deeply concerned about their safety.

A missing adult might not make national headlines, but when that person has a severe, untreated mental illness, it certainly deserves our attention.

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