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A Matter Of Opinion

Mental Illness: How pervasive?

(Mark Williams conducts the Spokane British Brass Band in a rehearsal in Yakima in 2006 at a music educators conference. Photo Courtesy of Larry Pittman)

The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that mental illness touches 1 in 4 people, but this figure takes into account milder forms of so-called mental illness. In our editorial today, we went with the statistics on serious mental illness which afflicts 1 in 17 people.

Doug was skeptical about the 1 in 4 figure, but I am not, because almost every person I know well has at least one story of mental illness in the family, ranging from mild social anxiety to schizophrenia. Our differing views prompted a good editorial board discussion last Wednesday.

Now, it’s your turn to weigh in. Does 1 in 4 sound realistic to you? Blog lines are open.

Excerpt from edit:

In two Inland Northwest families, the hopes of parents ended in public tragedies. At 1 p.m. today at Spokane Valley Baptist Church, family and community members will honor former Spokane resident Mark Williams. He was a well-known musician and composer who moved to Bellingham partly to be closer to his 24-year-old son, Brian Williams. Brian, who suffers from schizophrenia, is accused of stabbing his father to death Jan. 3.

“My brother gave his life trying to help his son become well,” Mark’s brother, Grant Williams, told The Spokesman-Review.

And in a Spokane courtroom this week, Bryan Patrick Kim is being tried on aggravated first-degree murder charges. His parents, Richard and Terri Kim, were killed more than a year ago. Kim, 19, has a bipolar disorder.


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A Matter of Opinion is really a matter of many opinions — those held by the people responsible for the opinion pages of The Spokesman-Review ... and yours. Check in regularly to follow the discussion and help keep it lively.

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