Wednesday, July 30, 2008

When Mental Illness Gets Very Political

A June announcement that Massachusetts state Sen. J. James Marzilli, Jr. suffers from bipolar disorder, following his arrest from accosting four women, left many wondering.  They wondered how could someone so prominent and so far along in his career go this long unchecked and untreated. 

Perhaps this will sound a wake-up call to Sen. Marzilli’s colleagues that a severe mental illness knows no demographic limits.  Even politicians can get sick too.  The good news, for politicians and people in every walk of life, is that treatment works.  Sen. Marzilli likely did not recognize he was sick.  Many with bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses don’t. 

Clearly the four women in the parking garage he accosted knew something was wrong. 

Let’s now hope other Massachusetts state senators will now take a look at the state’s laws and make it easier for all people in the state with severe mental illnesses to receive treatment.