By Bob Carolla, NAMI Director of Media Relations
On Jan. 26, CBS News’ 60 Minutes aired "Nowhere to Go: Mentally Ill Youth in Crisis," an important story that has helped raise attention to failures in the mental health care system affecting young people and their families.
The full story includes an interview with a young man in an emergency room who had been experiencing suicidal ideation and a frank discussion with a group of mothers.
The centerpiece, however, is an interview with Virginia state senator and former gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds, whose 24-year-old son, Gus attacked him and then died by suicide in Nov. 2013. The tragedy involved a prominent politician and his son, but could just as easily have happened to anyone.
Gus, who lived with bipolar disorder, had been discharged from a hospital emergency room the day before the tragedy because no psychiatric beds were available in the local or nearby communities. “I really don't want Gus to be defined by his illness,” declares Senator Deeds in the interview. “I don't want Gus to be defined by what happened…Gus was a great kid. He was a perfect son. It's clear the system failed.”
Don’t Miss 60 Minutes Overtime
A supplemental video report, "The Stigma of Raising a Mentally Ill Child," is posted on the 60 Minutes website (and embedded at the top of this blog), providing additional discussion that includes a focus on the stigma that families often confront when a child lives with mental illness.
It took CBS News almost eight month to compile interviews for the story. “The really difficult part is to get anyone to come onto television to talk about it,” said CBS news anchor Scott Pelley. “Imagine being a parent appearing on 60 Minutes to talk about the serious mental illness of your child? Very hard to do.”
NAMI applauds CBS News for the report and especially those individuals who courageously participated in the interviews.
We are also grateful that CBS News included on the 60 Minutes website at the end of each story’s text the following editor’s note: Families in need of help with a mentally ill child can find resources at the National Alliance on Mental Illness: www.nami.org or 1 (800) 950-NAMI (6264).
NAMI also offers the following fact sheet and programs for family education:What Families Can Do