Letters to the Editor

We need to manage mental illness

By my senior year of college, I would find myself eating out of trash cans and lost in a fog of psychosis. In a few short years, I had transformed from a promising scholar, to a gravely mentally ill individual.

As parents know, the college years can be a challenging time for young adults to navigate, and to make matters more difficult, it often coincides with the onset of mental illness. Nevertheless, together we can do better to offer our young adults the help they need before a life time of issues develop. Here’s what we can do…

My parents were able to reach out to professionals because I had health insurance through the dependent child coverage the Affordable Care Act required. Furthermore, I met with health care providers in community settings, and avoided the involuntary hospitalization, or arrest. Lastly, and most importantly, the duration of my untreated mental illness was mitigated by an early intervention and access to life saving treatment.

We know that getting help in the first stages of a mental illness offers the best opportunity for recovery. Getting treatment early on allows people to get back to living the life they want to live.

We have all heard of lives that have become derailed because of mental illness, yet recovery is the normal and expected outcome when people get access to the right care. Despite a diagnosis of schizophrenia, I graduate this summer as a Family Nurse Practitioner from the University of Miami, thanks to health care access, community treatment, and early intervention, along with the support of friends, family and colleagues. Let’s work together to offer other young adults the opportunity to live meaningful lives. Find Help, Find Hope.

For more information, please contact NAMI-Miami Dade at (305) 665-2540 or visit https://namiofmiami.org/

Carlos A. Larrauri R.N, B.S.N.

Board of Directors for NAMI-Miami Dade County