“I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother” Sparks Blogger Debate About Mental Health

We need new ideas. What are yours?

In the wake of the tragedy that took the lives of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, a blogger from across the country was arguably the first to break through the noise and galvanize a debate around mental health.

Liza Long’s blog post about raising a mentally ill child, “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother,” talks about her experiences raising her 13-year-old son, whom she describes as a gifted but unpredictable child who has threatened to kill her and himself.

As she put it, “I love my son. But he terrifies me." 

Her blog post quickly went viral, got picked up by the The Huffington Post and others, earned a million likes on Facebook, and led to Long's appearance on CNN to talk about the way mental illness is stigmatized in America.

“I am sharing this story because I am Adam Lanza’s mother,” Long wrote. “I am Dylan Klebold’s and Eric Harris’s mother. I am James Holmes’s mother. I am Jared Loughner’s mother. I am Seung-Hui Cho’s mother. And these boys—and their mothers—need help.”

The Facts About Mental Health
The issue is enormous: An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older suffer from mental disorders in a given year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

That’s one in four people in the country, or about 57.7 million people. And more than 90 percent of people who commit suicide have a diagnosable mental disorder.

But many of us don’t know how to talk about these figures, or where to find the solution. The Newtown tragedy sparked a national conversation about gun control and legislative action--President Obama is already pushing for new laws to prevent gun violence. But Americans are just beginning their conversations with one another about mental health.

What do you think we should do? We know many of our young people are angry, depressed, anxious. Can we help each other as parents, teachers, neighbors?

We need new ideas. What are yours? 

Tell us in the comments.

Linda Whiteman December 24, 2012 at 02:41 AM
Many years ago when women wanted to work and our children became latchkey children is where I think things began falling apart. Parents were not there for their children and the children began raising themselves. Soon after parents decided that they wanted all the toys: boats, cars, etc. which led to other interests besides the kids and family life. Now I am not says all women that work are wrong, some have no choice but to support their family. Once the banks saw a two income family two incomes were needed to buy homes and cars and here we are. If family has fallen apart it only goes to show our kids will fall apart. Yes there are children out there that have serious mental health issues one can only hope with a supportive home life, medical treatment and some sort of spiritual upbringing that maybe an Adam Lanza would think twice, maybe not but we won't know till we try.
Holly Eitenmiller December 24, 2012 at 04:50 AM
I am tired of seeing this woman capitalizing on the Newtown massacre. She is not Adam Lanza's mother. Perhaps she is the mother of a disturbed child, but she utter incapable of understanding what Adam Lanza's mother endured, including being murdered. What an idiot.
Jane Prendergast December 24, 2012 at 05:29 AM
I've read the article - it is a cry for help, and that help is not available. Nobody should criticize before they've spent a week in Liza Long's shoes.
Marina December 25, 2012 at 03:04 AM
Maybe Liza Long should institutionalize her wack-job son before he's our next murder spree.
father of bipolar son December 29, 2012 at 12:09 PM
It's ignorant comments like this that perpetuates the stigma associated with mental and behavioral health. Where exactly would you like her to institutionalize him? In 1955 there was 1 inpatient treatment bed for every 300 people in need. Today there is 1 for every 3,000! This country has a shortage of 45,000 psychiatrist today. No one chooses to have a mental disorder and more than they choose to have cancer. But it is people like you that make it difficult for those in need to seek treatment. Do you also point at people with prosthetic limbs.


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