Pushed To Breaking Point Or Natural Born Killers?22 Sep 2011
Some mental illnesses, like depression, can be a serious after effect from the loss of a loved one, trauma, abuse or stress, but it can also be the result of a hereditary abnormality in your ancestor’s genes, that is passed down, creating a chemical imbalance, which may require medication to counteract the effects in the brain.
Other mental illnesses, like psychosis, schizophrenia and paranoia, can be the consequences of drug abuse. These can also be treated with a combination of sobriety, lifestyle changes, medication and goal setting, amongst other tecniques.
People suffering alone from severe mental illness, are capable of unspeakable acts. I have read about numerous stories in the news of people harming or killing co-workers, friends or loved ones, or of committing crimes and later, pleading insanity.
I knew a young man during my school days, who was very shy and introverted, but after mixing with the wrong crowd, he became involved in substance abuse, which he felt gave him the confidence to become louder and seem ‘cool’ by impressing his new found friends. The drug abuse subsequently unlocked a mental illness, which resulted in him premeditating and murdering his mother, who was there for him, his whole life. He is now free to live in society, because he was viewed by the legal system as being mentally unstable at the time of the murder.
This week in South Australian news, a woman who was accused of murdering her intellectually disabled
son in 2009, was released from custody, being labelled ‘mentally incompetent to commit murder’. The judge, Justice John Sulan, also deleted part of her ruling that prohibited her from drinking alcohol after her release. He also said that she wasn’t required to report to correctional services as often.
Beverly Eitzen, now 48, cared for her intellectually disabled
son, Peter, for the entirety of his 16 years. Peter was the size of a 16 year old boy, with the intellect of a 2 year old, and he became physically violent towards her and disruptive at times.
Beverly suffered from depression, which worsened due to growing fears of what would happen to her son as he aged, and if her and her husband weren’t around to take care of him.
She made the decision to end her and her son’s lives. Beverly gave Peter a sedative to relax him, before attempting to gas them both in their car. Peter awoke and became agitated, after Beverly calmed him back to sleep, she stabbed him in the neck, killing him.
She immediately drove herself, with Peter still in the car, to her local police station, to turn herself in. Because of her cooperation and mental instability, she was released on bail, into the care of her husband, providing she would seek psychological help, until later court hearings.
Beverly was this week released on a mental health supervision licence, which means she will have to attend psychiatric appointments, and adhere to other terms on her licence.
Is it possible to become too mentally unstable that one is driven to murder? Is the insanity plea just an easy way out? Or, does the amount of prisoners behind bars, who suffer from mental illness, just prove that there isn’t enough assistance available to people with mental health issues?
To read the article from the ABC News website, click here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-09-20/beverley-eitzen-disabled-son-trial/2907784