Liza Long is the mother of a child with an undiagnosed mental disorder. When she heard about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, her first thought was, "What if my son does that someday?" She wrote an emotional response to the tragedy, which the Boise State University online journal posted as "I Am Adam Lanza's Mother". The post went viral, receiving 1.2 million Facebook likes, nearly 17,000 tweets, and 30,000 emails.
Now, in The Price of Silence she takes a devastating look at how we address mental illness, especially in children, who are funneled through a system of education, mental health care, and juvenile detention that leads far too often to prison. In the end she asks one central question: If there's a poster child for cancer, why can't there be one for mental illness? The answer: the stigma. Liza Long is speaking in a way that we cannot help but hear, and she won't stop until something changes.
©2014 Liza Long (P)2014 Blackstone Audio
Probably not. She can pretty much sum it up in a five minute tv interview. There is a lot of theoretical philosophical talk and the interesting anecdotes that make the book good are too far between.
Cut it in half. Dont try to be an expert in things your not and stick to talking about your family and experiences.
The narrator was very poor and didn't flow well. It was frustratingly choppy.
I haven't finished reading this book yet, but I'm finding her arguments to be hard to listen to already. Although I agree with the author's theme that the social stigma of mental illness needs to be addressed, I find statements that she makes about her own situation to be truly troubling.
She states that often mentally ill individuals generally aren't prone to violence, and if they are prone to violence, that they are usually self-violent, but her son is violent towards others. The author repeatedly explains that her son is not only self-violent, but violent towards her and others. She states that she only truly feels safe when her son is in a lock-down facility even though his situation is truly heartbreaking to her. But through out the parts of the book that I have read so far, she is critical of other parents who wanted her child out of the charter school because of his behaviors. She's critical of her ex-husband who wants to separate their younger children from their violent brother and who had pressed charges against their son for an assault. I feel that Long is saying that it is wrong for other parents including her ex-husband to want to protect their children from her repeatedly and unpredictably violent son despite his history and her own fear of him because he has the label of "mental illness". I understand her comparing her son to Adam Lanza, but she explains early in the book that no one in Adam Lanza's life would have thought that he would have been violent in the manner that he was, but Long's son is violent. People around Michael should be concerned about his behavior.
She doesn't know how to best keep her child from enacting violence and has to keep their household's knives with her at all times, but people outside her home should be able to deal with Michael's potentially violent outbursts. She says that by taking sole custody of her 2 younger children that her ex-husband and the court system are forcing her to choose between 2 healthy children and 1 sick child, but why should those 2 healthy children be in a situation where they need to lock themselves into a room until they can safely make a dash outside to her car to lock themselves in the car?
Long repeatedly compares mental illness to other illnesses, but she doesn't seem to realize that some illnesses can't be taken care of in the home. Some individuals with critical illnesses and conditions need critical care in hospitals and other medical facilities, but she balks at the thought of having Michael in a more permanent live-in facility. She's critical of a church leader who told another mother that the mother's son should be taught religion at home rather than in the church setting, but if the son in question had severe leukemia and was too weak to have in church instruction, people would view the religious leader's suggestion as reasonable.
Furthermore, she gives a quote that states that mental illness is like other illnesses in that it can be treated with medications, but when talking about her son's diagnoses, she readily admits that his physicians haven't been able to find a combination of medications that keep him from being violent and having outbursts.
I do agree that mental illness should be less stigmatized and that insurance companies need to reevaluate their coverages. I also agree that she is in a very difficult situation in trying to find effective treatments for her son, but it sounds like her son's condition is fairly critical. Labeling it as mental illness (which it is) and complaining about the stigma of mental illness (which exists) doesn't make her son less likely to be violent towards her and his family.
I am definitely not an advocate for guns, but Long does seem to join the argument that the availability of guns is contributing to the problem of mental illness and violence. I feel that her gun statements, even if they are accurate, are just another argument that she is using to avoid saying that some mentally ill individuals are violent and a danger to those around them.
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