Mental health issues devastate lives and they destroy families, but a lot of people don’t take them seriously. Those aren’t “real problems,” they say.
I was sad to discover this evening that some kind of mental illness has taken the life of Marilane Carter, a Kansas pastor’s wife who’s been missing for two weeks. She was the mother of two small boys and a little girl, who you’ll see in this family photo, and she had been having unspecified mental issues.
About two weeks ago, she left home in Kansas to drive to Birmingham, where she planned to visit her pregnant sister — and she also planned to seek mental help.
Carter had graduated from divinity school here in Birmingham, so she felt comfortable asking for help here. But she never made it. Her family lost touch with her near Memphis and she completely disappeared. Searchers discovered her car today just west of Memphis and her body was still inside.
No foul play is suspected.
I don’t know why this particular story caught my attention so strongly, but I had feared Carter was dead. Something about her story touched me and made her seem like someone I might have known. Maybe even someone I might have liked.
Her husband is devastated. He broke the news tonight to their children — and those children’s lives are forever changed.
Mental illness can affect anyone, but a lot of its victims are good at hiding it. Even though you can’t see the mental issues going on inside a person, those issues are very real.
With love and proper treatment, many can find happiness and healthy lives. It’s something more people need to take seriously.
And maybe the next Marilane Carter will find the right treatment and return to a happy life. And maybe more children will grow up with their loving mother instead of wondering what really happened.
Let’s take care of each other — and let’s love each other. That’s half the battle with mental health.