On June 24, I received a text message from my wife: "Problem with Gabe. Come home." When I reached home a few minutes later, my worst nightmare became a horrible reality. Gabe had jumped from the balcony of his apartment on the 59th floor of Marina City. Our beautiful, loving son was lost to us forever.
Gabe Mitchell was an artist and filmmaker. He was "handsome, smart, honest, kind and gentle." And throughout his adult life, he struggled with a brutal, self-destructive illness – schizophrenia.
Mental illness takes a toll on those who suffer from it, as well as their loved ones. Today on The Obit Report, we look at Gabe Mitchell's life and his struggles with schizophrenia – as beautifully and movingly related by his grieving father.
The Mitchells' story is not uncommon. According to Mental Health America, "Most people believe that mental disorders are rare and 'happen to someone else.' In fact, mental disorders are common and widespread. An estimated 54 million Americans suffer from some form of mental disorder in a given year."
The National Alliance on Mental Illness shares the following, sobering statistics:
"Most families are not prepared to cope with learning their loved one has a mental illness. It can be physically and emotionally trying, and can make us feel vulnerable to the opinions and judgments of others," says Mental Health America on its website. It's important to remember that there is hope and help.
Image: Flickr Creative Commons/COCOMARIPOSA