Lillehammer to Sochi, Not Much Has Changed – personally speaking
(Feb. 7, 2014) Today all of the world will have its eyes on Sochi for the much ballyhooed Olympics Games. Many tales of grit and heroism will be told and we will enjoy many deeds of overwhelming strength against all odds that will inspire us.
Yet, as we hold aspirations for our ice dance team, the lyrical and lovely Meryl Davis and Charlie White, everyone’s favorites for the gold, I am reminded of another American ice dance team from exactly twenty-years ago in Lillehammer, Elizabeth Punsalan and Jerod Swallow.
A week before this team embarked for the Olympics, Punsalan’s father, Dr. Ernesto Punsalan was stabbed to death by her brother, Ricardo, who was mentally ill and on a pass from a psychiatric facility. Yet, the ice dancing team carried on and continued in the competition even though they had this devastating sorrow hanging over their heads.
Twenty years have passed and the mental illness treatment system is still fractured and psychiatric treatment beds are continuing to shrink. We need more professionals ready to help, longer stays in hospitals and better education for the public about the consequences of untreated serious mental illness. Most of all it should be easier to get someone who needs help into treatment.
If these lessons from the past are learned and applied, it will certainly level the playing field for the person suffering from a serious mental illness. This would be a victory of the ages and would match any of the feats that will be performed on the slopes and on the ice rink. Let us step up to the plate and make things better for the mentally ill and their families now! We will save so many lives.
Brandon W. Fitch
Brandon Fitch is recovering from a serious mental illness and has received great help from treatment. He is the program annotator for the Cleveland Philharmonic and the Black River String Quartet. His interests are Russian and medieval history and classical music.
- About Us
- Legal Resources
- Get Help
- SUPPORT US