Treatment is vital for mentally ill, expert says
The tragedy of mental illness is "when we don't do what we know how to do," says a nationally prominent clinical psychologist and forensic expert.
People with mental illness can recover, and many deaths can be prevented, says Dr. Xavier Amador, clinical psychologist at Teacher's College, Columbia University.
But this often does not happen because of "poor insight into the illness," said Amador, here for a visit sponsored by Nami Hawaii, affiliate of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill.
He was to speak at 9:30 a.m. today at the Queen's Conference Center and will give a talk tomorrow on Maui about the process of recovery, said Nami Hawaii Executive Director Jim Mihalke.
Amador is a frequent consultant on mental illness for leading publications, TV and government agencies in the United States and abroad. He worked on the Theodore Kaczynski ("Unabomber") case and the Russell Weston ("Capitol Shooter") case, among others that made national headlines.
A prolific author, one of his books is entitled "I Am Not Sick. I Don't Need Help!"
"Like any other medical illness, whether it's cancer or heart disease, when we do research and know so much about how we can help people, the illness becomes even more of an extreme tragedy when we don't deliver treatments and services," Amador said in an interview.
"We have this array of services (for mentally ill people)," he said. "We set this wonderful banquet out. They're starving, but we don't provide any transportation for half of the people to the banquet. My brother was one of those people."