Sunday, November 30, 2008

Pay Attention America

Another very sad story. This young man was on meds for bipolar disorder according to his dad. His life should never have ended at all.

Horror as teenager commits suicide live online

Abraham K Biggs on

A video capture showing a police officer in the bedroom of Abraham K Biggs, hours after the teenager took an overdose

Comment: When hate comes to your homepage | Should forum members be prosecuted?

A 19-year-old man in Florida committed suicide live on the internet as hundreds of web surfers watched - taunting him and offering encouragement.

Abraham K. Biggs, from Broward County, Florida, announced his intention on an online forum, posted a suicide note on another and then took an overdose of pills in front of his webcam, broadcasting his final moments on

Mr Biggs lay on his bed motionless for several hours before members of the website became alarmed. With the video still streaming, viewers eventually called the local police, who broke down the door, found the body and switched off the camera. Up to 1,500 people were viewing, according to one report.

A video clip posted on the net shows a police officer entering the room, his handgun drawn, as he checks for any sign of life. Mr Biggs was a member of under the name CandyJunkie and was also known under the alias of Feels Like Ecstasy on Justin. tv. He had apparently threatened to commit suicide before.

On Wednesday he went on the forum and detailed the amount of drugs he was going to take. The moderators of the forum reportedly did not take him seriously because of his past threats and other forum members egged him on. “You want to kill yourself?” one said. “Do it, do the world a favour and stop wasting our time with your mindless self-pity.”

In his suicide note Mr Biggs said that he had hurt other people and hated himself for being a failure. “I am an a@#hole. I have let everyone down and I feel as though I will never change or never improve. I am in love with a girl and I know that I am not good enough for her,” he wrote.

As he lay on the bed after taking the pills, many forum members continued to insult him, believing that it was a hoax.

Wendy Crane, an investigator with the Broward County medical examiner's office, said Mr Biggs died from a toxic combination of opiates and benzodiazepine, a drug used to treat insomnia and depression.

At least one of the drugs was prescribed to him and it's unclear how he got the others, she said. He started blogging at 3am on Wednesday and his body was found by police 12 hours later.

Mr Biggs' father, Abraham Biggs Sr., told that he was not home when his son died. He said his son struggled with depression and had been prescribed benzodiazepine to treat bipolar disorder. The 19-year-old had been "doing better," his father said, "He was a good kid."

Mr Biggs senior said he was upset that streamed his son's suicide live. "There seems to be a lack of control as to what people put out on the Internet," he said. "There's a lot of garbage out there that should not be, and unfortunately this was allowed to happen.", named after Justin Kan, its first star, is an open network of thousands of live channels based in San Francisco.

“We regret that this has occurred and respect the privacy of the broadcaster and his family during this time,” Michael Seibel, CEO of, said.

“We have policies in place to discourage the distribution of distressing content and our community monitors the site accordingly. This content was flagged by our community, reviewed and removed according to our terms of service.”

The video feed has been taken down, but clips have been posted elsewhere on the net and copies of the suicide note can also be found, though many of the forum posts have been deleted by their authors.

Mr Biggs’s friends have posted RIP messages on his MySpace page, with some still asking him to pick up his phone.

Last year a British man hanged himself live on webcam. His suicide was witnessed by about 100 chatroom users. Kevin Whitrick, 42, from Telford, Shropshire, killed himself after being goaded in an “insult” chatroom at the Paltalk website. One of the users is claimed to have told him: “F***ing do it. Get on with it.”

According to one charity that works to prevent suicide, there have been at least 17 deaths in Britain since 2001 involving chatrooms or sites that give advice on suicide methods.

Monday, November 24, 2008

New Spirit

Hopefully we are entering a new American spirit of open-ness about ethnic, cultural, and even medical differences. I am personally tired of the prejudice and judgmental biases that affect our American culture. Everyone has a story to tell about their family or lives. I was born and raised in the South and I will confess that there is still a lot of prejudice there about almost everything. None of us are really any "better" than the others. We are all pieces of energy on earth trying to co-exist. Thanks again for reading this blog and staying informed and spreading the language and vocabulary that helps our mentally ill loved ones.


Glenn Close, Alma Powell, and Quincy Jones to Be Honored at AARP The Magazine's 2009 Inspire Awards

Last update: 10:50 a.m. EST Nov. 24, 2008
WASHINGTON, Nov 24, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ -- - Peter Gallagher, Dr. Susan Love, and Richard Cohen Also Recognized -
AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with 34 million readers, today announced the recipients of its fifth annual Inspire Awards. The Inspire Awards pay tribute to 10 extraordinary people who inspire others to action through their innovative thinking, passion and perseverance. The 2009 honorees include Glenn Close (Mental Health Advocate), Richard M. Cohen (Voice for the Chronically Ill), Martin Eakes (Lending to the Poor), Katherine Freund (Transportation Activist), Peter Gallagher (Alzheimer's Advocate), David E. Hayes-Bautista, Ph.D. (Latino-Health Researcher), Quincy Jones (Global Poverty Fighter), Susan Love, M.D. (Cancer Crusader), Rose Nakamura (Compassionate Caregiver), and Alma Powell (Children's Advocate).
"These leaders set a great example for all on how passion can support and spark change in creative, innovative ways. Their stories are truly inspiring," said Nancy Graham, Vice President and Editor of AARP The Magazine.
Honorees will receive their Inspire Awards during a private cocktail reception and dinner hosted by television host James "JB" Brown at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., on December 8, 2008. Television journalist and mental health advocate Jane Pauley will also make a special appearance to present the Inspire Award to Glenn Close.
All ten profiles appear in the January/February 2009 issue of AARP The Magazine, in homes now and available online at
Glenn Close - Mental Health Advocate
Perhaps best known for her portrayal of the deeply troubled Alex Forrest in Fatal Attraction, Glenn Close, 61, is no stranger to the affects of mental illness off-screen as well. The Emmy Award winner has a more personal connection with this issue, which strikes five percent of the U.S. population and affects one in four families. In a rare public statement, Close reveals to AARP The Magazine that she has two family members who suffer from serious psychiatric disorders. "I've seen mental illness firsthand," she says. "I know there are millions of people affected, and it's not just the patient who is suffering. It's everyone around them." Two years ago the actress began working with Fountain House (, a nonprofit organization that she discovered while searching for help for her relatives. Fountain House offers its members assistance with jobs, education, and housing and also provides a supportive community. In 2009, Close will take her involvement a step further, headlining a national advertising campaign intended to diminish the stigma of mental illness. "When I first thought about doing this, I wondered if people would think that I was mentally ill," says Close. "Then I thought, 'What's the alternative? Not to do it?'" Close acknowledges that continued research into better treatments is important. But erasing the stigma, she says, is the first step.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Follow up

This is a follow on an article and story that happened earlier this year. Keepthedialogueup!!!

Local family raises money to fight mental illness

A mistreated mental illness took the lives of Danielle Lambert's twin sister and two young children nearly a year ago. Pushing aside her anger and frustration, Lambert and her husband, Ken, have their used their grief as a driving force to prevent similar tragedies.

Keep Sound Minds, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the memories of Kaleigh and Shane Lambert and Marci Thibault, is aimed at promoting mental health awareness by pushing for better education and policy changes.

"We wanted to prevent this from happening again to another family," said Lambert, who suggested starting an organization a few weeks after her two children were killed. "I had to do something."

Family members say a sudden, unexpected psychotic relapse on the night of Jan. 11, 2008, caused Lambert's sister, Marci Thibault, to pull over to the side of Interstate 495 South in Lowell, undress herself, 5-year-old Kaleigh and 4-year-old Shane, take them in her arms and walk into oncoming traffic. The Lamberts' only children and Thibault were killed by two cars.

"We go through the scenarios and there were so many missed opportunities," Lambert said.

Thibault was treated for a brief episode of mental illness last September, but she said a lack of education, discussion and follow-up "led to tragedy."

Many in the community came out in support of a bowling benefit yesterday for Keep Sound Minds at PiNZ in Milford. Such support has been consistent since the January accident, said the Lamberts, who live in Brentwood, N.H. Lambert is one of eight Coady sisters, born and raised in Bellingham.

The Lamberts are gearing up for a larger fundraising event slated for March at the Sheraton Hotel in Boston. The benefit will launch a scholarship fund and will feature guest speakers, a raffle and silent auction.

Through Keep Sound Minds, the Lambert, Coady and Thibault families hope to raise awareness and increase education about mental disorders.

One target area focuses on changing law enforcement procedures and recognizing mental illness as a public safety issue.

The Lamberts still wonder why police didn't seem to respond appropriately to her behavior just hours before the double murder-suicide.

State police said 39-year-old Thibault had a minor accident and was cited on I-495 North in Andover on her way to pick up her niece and nephew. Another motorist told state police she appeared agitated, but she was rational and responsive when troopers arrived.

Lambert said she believes Marci showed police "clear signs of psychosis," but then snapped back to normal by the time she arrived in Brentwood.

"She seemed perfectly normal," she recalled.

The Lamberts later learned from a witness that Thibault said she was "taking (the children) to heaven."

"I knew it wasn't malicious," Lambert said. "I knew it was her illness that came back."

Choking back tears, she said she would have never let her sister take the children if she showed signs of instability.

"I didn't know much about mental disorders, neither did a lot of people in the family," said Ken Lambert, clutching his tearful wife's hand. "If we had known more, this could have been prevented."

Another goal of Keep Sound Minds is to eliminate the stigma associated with mental illness, said Ken Lambert.

"People don't want to talk about it, but you need the knowledge," he said. "Education can protect people."

Changing procedures to discharge mental health patients can also prevent needless tragedy, the Lamberts said.

In Thibault's case, Danielle Lambert said doctors "belittled" her concerns about her sister.

"It was scary to me, but they told me, 'Don't worry,"' she recalled after doctors diagnosed Thibault with bipolar disorder and let her leave the hospital. "They took away my fear."

During the holiday season last year, the Thibaults and Lamberts celebrated Christmas together and felt Marci had improved.

"She loved kids .. she loved our kids," Danielle Lambert said. "And they were so excited to go with her."

The faces of the Lamberts' children still smile from an etching on a gold pendant hanging from Danielle Lambert's neck.

"They were beautiful kids, we miss them so much," she said. "We never thought we'd be in this place, but we're trying to do something positive."

Michelle Simpson, who volunteered at yesterday's bowling event, credits the Lamberts' initiative.

"I was inspired by how they turned a devastating tragedy into something positive," said Simpson, whose husband grew up in the Coadys' Bellingham neighborhood. "They want to make a change and prevent a similar tragedy from happening in the future."

For more information, visit

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Not Surprising Facts

One In Five Hospital Admissions Are For Patients With Mental Disorders, USA

5 (3 votes)

4 (1 votes)

Article Opinions: 0 posts

About 1.4 million hospitalizations in 2006 involved patients who were admitted for a mental illness, while another 7.1 million patients had a mental disorder in addition to the physical condition for which they were admitted, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

The 8.5 million hospitalizations involving patients with mental illness represented about 22 percent of the overall 39.5 million hospitalizations in 2006. AHRQ's analysis found that of the nearly 1.4 million hospitalizations specifically for treatment of a mental disorder in 2006:

- Nearly 730,000 involved depression or other mood disorders, such as bipolar disease.
- Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders caused another 381,000.
- Delirium -- which can cause agitation or inability to focus attention -- dementia, amnesia and other cognitive problems accounted for 131,000.
- Anxiety disorders and adjustment disorders - stress-related illnesses that can affect feeling, thoughts, and behaviors - accounted for another 76,000.
- The remaining roughly 34,000 hospitalizations involved attention-deficit disorder, disruptive behavior, impulse control, personality disorders, or mental disorders usually diagnosed in infancy or later childhood.

This AHRQ News and Numbers is based on data from Hospital Stays Related to Mental Health, 2006 (HCUP Statistical Brief #62). The report uses statistics from the 2006 Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a database of hospital inpatient stays that is nationally representative of inpatient stays in all short-term, non-Federal hospitals. The data are drawn from hospitals that comprise 90 percent of all discharges in the United States and include all patients, regardless of insurance type, as well as the uninsured.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Notable New Books

Four new books tell the true stories of mental illness
Updated 1h 15m ago | Subscribe to stories like this
 Bound for illness: Tracey's sisters Austine, 10, and Michelle, 17 from Stalking Irish Madness.
Courtesy of Patrick Tracey
Bound for illness: Tracey's sisters Austine, 10, and Michelle, 17 from Stalking Irish Madness.
No. 7-10: Diabetes, Obama and mental health

Get wellness tips, medical study roundups and news for healthy living here, including info on ...

Fitness and nutrition
Parenting/kids' health
Watercooler-worthy bits

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, one in 17 Americans suffer from serious mental illness. Four new memoirs deal with the harsh reality of people and families who cope with a chronic, disabling condition. Two focus on bipolar disorder (sometimes called manic depression), which is found in about 5.7 million adults. Another examines a family legacy of bipolar disorder and suicide. The fourth addresses schizophrenia, which afflicts an estimated 2.4 million Americans. This severe disease causes hallucinations and delusional thinking. USA TODAY critiques the new titles.

Hurry Down Sunshine
By Michael Greenberg
Other Press, 234 pp., $22

In this powerful memoir, writer Michael Greenberg describes the terrifying summer his 15-year-old daughter, Sally, became a stranger to herself and to her father. In August 1996, the lively teenager became, almost overnight, manic and uncontrollable, unable to stop talking as words poured out. The cause: the onset of bipolar disorder. Taken to a Manhattan emergency room, Sally was immediately placed in the hospital's psychiatric unit.

With spare, unemotional prose, Greenberg captures what it's like to have a mentally ill child and the way the disease strips him of his sense of control over his daughter's health. He describes the powerful anti-psychotic medications that Sally receives, and how she responds. Eventually she is released from the hospital and returns to high school.

Greenberg offers no miracle cure: Sally struggles with the disorder today. And to his credit, he does not demonize the overworked but caring doctors who treat his daughter.

Stalking Irish Madness: Searching for the Roots of My Family's Schizophrenia
By Patrick Tracey
Bantam, 273 pp., $24

In this fascinating memoir/travelogue, Irish-American journalist Patrick Tracey describes the journey he has taken in life because of schizophrenia.

His story begins in Boston as two of his older sisters were diagnosed in their early 20s with the disease. One withdrew into herself in dark despair. The other acted out in outrageous ways, thinking she was the bride of Christ. Thirty years later, both live in group homes. Their fates seemed linked to that of their Irish-American grandmother, who was institutionalized for 31 years with schizophrenia until her death.

Tracey fled the USA for many years, until a conversation with a London doctor led him back to the disease that haunted him. He interviewed scientists: Its cause remains a mystery. He traveled to Ireland looking for his grandmother's relatives. In the end, he returns to Boston to reconnect with his sisters.

Scattershot: My Bipolar Family
By David Lovelace
Dutton, 292 pp., $24.95

The author of Scattershot has an extraordinary grasp of what it means to have bipolar disorder. David Lovelace grew up in Massachusetts with bipolar parents. His brother is bipolar, as is David. In the year 1986, every Lovelace male was committed to a psychiatric hospital at some point.

Only his sister does not have the disease.

Yet Scattershot is not a horror story but rather a portrait of a loving if sometimes crazy family. Lovelace's father is a brilliant theologian and an expert on Puritan thinkers including Cotton Mather. His mother is an artist. Lovelace is a published poet and bookseller.

He details how his parents, his brother and he all follow the same biochemical pattern. They zoom from manic highs of creativity to bottomless lows. This empathetic memoir illustrates that medication is as essential for people with bipolar disorder as insulin is for diabetics.

Blue Genes: A Memoir of Loss and Survival
By Christopher Lukas
Doubleday, 248 pp., $24.95

In Blue Genes, TV producer and director Christopher Lukas describes the shadow of sorrow that suicide has cast over his life.

The book opens in 1997 with the suicide of the author's older brother, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist J. Anthony Lukas. This continued a terrible family tradition. Their 33-year-old mother had committed suicide in 1941, when her sons were 6 and 8, after struggling with bipolar disorder for years.

In Blue Genes, Lukas movingly describes what it was like to grow up the child of a suicide. Lukas' father became an alcoholic, and the boys were sent to boarding school. He writes about feeling abandoned and angry. He also describes his loving but complex relationship with his brother.

Yet this memoir also affirms the joy Lukas has found in being a husband and father. His story will resonate with readers who have lost friends or family members to suicide.

Share this story: