This Op-Ed, by yours truly, appeared in the November 17 issue of Florida Today.
It was another routine day as a homicide commander in Miami, where I often spent time visiting the Medical Examiner’s Office — aka the morgue — because that was the hub of forensic analysis in death cases.
One day, as I chatted with doctors performing autopsies, I looked to my left and saw a dead female child, about 11, lying on a steel tray, clad only in a toe-tag for identification. I looked twice, then gasped. Lori was my wife’s niece. I had visited her house often. She used her father’s .22 revolver to fire a bullet into her brain.
Lori was just a little girl who seemed normal, yet suffered with emotional anxieties and a lopsided temperament adults dismissed as simple childhood behavior. “Oh, she’ll grow out of it.”
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. and the second leading cause for kids ages 15 to 24. More than 90 percent of children who commit suicide suffered with a severe mental disorder. Veterans commit suicide on average of 20 per day.
Mental illness …