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The voices in her head

July 06, 2009

Re "Jani's at the mercy of her mind," Column One, June 29

Such a sad, sad story. I was unaware that children could get schizophrenia. I see brain diseases every day at my work, but never with a child. It is depressing enough to see 18- to 28- year-olds with severe mental illness ... but a 6-year-old?

Most of the time, the public and the media sensationalize schizophrenia. A good line in your article pointed out that it wasn't anyone's fault -- it's Jani's brain. It would be more helpful if, in cases when a mentally ill person hurts someone, the media and public would note this often occurs with an untreated mental illness.

Stephanie Steese

Redondo Beach

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I just read your article about "the parents of a 6-year-old schizophrenic search for help against daunting odds for a patient so young and a case so severe."

I have worked in early childhood education for years, and I have helped families cope with lots of mental and physical illness, but never have I seen or heard anything like this.

Krista Podolny

Riverside

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Surely our society's health system must develop ways to help these blameless victims of a devastating disease.

Too much is demanded of the families, in my opinion. Michael and Susan Schofield are acting heroically; yet, how much stress and contortion in their family life can they be expected to live with?

Your article didn't mention an organization founded about 30 years ago by family members to advocate for their mentally ill loved ones. I suspect the Schofields are informed about the National Alliance on Mental Illness. It is nationwide with local chapters. Its program for family members of people afflicted with serious mental illness has been a godsend to many.

Joan Vesper

Seattle

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I am simply stunned by your article about young Jani and her illness. Her parents are amazing in their lack of self-pity.

If nothing else, I hope your article spurs much-needed public attention to the plight of mentally ill children and the lack of services available to this vulnerable group.

Marjorie Van Nuis

San Diego

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