Still Crying for Help
The Failure of our Mental Health Services
A 32-year-old man diagnosed with mental illness puts an end to his life. Questions spring to mind. Could he have been saved? What health services did he get? Were they sufficient? Helpful? Empathetic? What led to the tragedy? How can it be avoided in the future? Is our mental health system up to modern challenges? Why is it taboo to talk about psychosis, schizophrenia, and suicide? Have antipsychotics developed over the past 70 years helped? Or are they just another straitjacket to keep the mentally ill out of the way? Ferid Ferkovic, the author's son, committed suicide a few days after being refused admission to the psychiatric ward of a Montreal hospital. From the very first symptoms until his tragic end, Ferid and his family dealt with vague and changing diagnoses, antipsychotics with devastating side effects, insensitive and non-empathetic health care professionals, and a shocking lack of information about external resources. They quickly learned that their opinions and ideas were simply unwelcome. For Sadia Messaili, the suicide of her son, who immigrated to Canada with his family at the age of 12, is the starting point in this moving and challenging quest for truth about our failing mental-health system, justice, and above all better ways to rekindle hope for people suffering mental illness and for their families. "Ferid's death was not the end," says Sadia Messaili. "He has fought through me, and the fight is not over!"