LETTER: Sinking into the Abyss

Monroe County Post

These strange times do push forth many thoughts, some even morbid, that we've rarely had to deal with before. We are all floundering, and it's hard to fight the dark side of all of this. We all just want it to end, to disappear, to be gone. Unfortunately, the person who has caused much of this, Donald Trump, has stated he will not leave, even if the election results say otherwise.

I find it ironic that Rochester and its police department are dealing with a situation involving a man with mental illness, while our country is doing the same. The real problem here is that wealth and fame have enabled a mentally ill man — our president. Prestige has put layers of cover up on someone who needed help long ago, but his problems were never addressed. Each time a new layer was added, the president became even more set in his ways and harder to help. Gone unchecked, this kind of person often ends up doing harm to others, leaving incarceration as the only option. Trump's presidential status could stall this outcome, but eventually he could pay the price. This remains to be seen.

At the other end of the spectrum is Dan Prude, also a mentally ill man. He, too, was enabled, but in a different way. Those who knew him couldn't cover it up — they just learned to live with it. Being Black, poor and most likely less educated, they tried to help him as they fought uphill odds. It is no surprise that Dan Prude found comfort in drugs. Being an impoverished person of color increased his chances of being incarcerated, which he had already experienced. His downward spiral is what brought the police, and his collapse emerged for all to see. He didn't have the luxury of hiding behind money or higher ups to protect his privacy. You can't go much lower than being mentally ill and naked on the street.

The affliction of both men screams and shouts of mental illness, and like COVID-19, it is time to believe it exists. If we don't, it, like COVID, will run ramped. With all the advancements made in psychology, so many, including the president, and those around him, still deny mental illness.

Sadly, this illness has no quick fix or cure and is most likely why it is not addressed enough. People want results quickly. Getting help takes time, is tedious and takes patience. Unfortunately, Dan Prude's fate was sealed upon his death. Trump's many years that went unchecked probably seal his — it could be too late to help him. But mental illness needs to be recognized. Trump's words and actions cry for help. Instead, people are perplexed and angry. They make remarks like, "Why is he doing that? He doesn't make sense. Why is he so thoughtless? That was stupid." Wake up, people. These questions or remarks speak of your hesitancy to say what you know is true. Something is very wrong.

I ask — what are we going to do about it?

Colleen Robinson 

East Rochester