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About 1 in 4 Americans suffer from mental illness in any given year. It's time we remove the stigma of asking for help. To start, we are providing resources and asking you to share your story so that we may help one another.

June 26, 2014 at 12:10pm

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From Peter Rodger - Father of Elliot Rodger

It has been one month and three days since my son, Elliot, did the unthinkable. There has not been one conscious second that I haven’t been thinking about the pain and suffering he caused for so many. The ripple affect of his actions has spread to countless thousands. I mourn for the loss of the young women and young men whose lives he ended. I feel for the victims and their families more than for the loss of my own son.

I do mourn for the lonely boy Elliot was, who disappeared because of a monster of an illness in him that none of us knew was so severe. I wish I could turn the clock back. There are so many “If only’s.”

I tried my best to do my duty as a father, but obviously my best was not enough. My duty now is to do as much as I can to try and stop this from happening again. Too many lives are being lost. Law enforcement professionals, teachers and health workers on the frontlines of the mental health crisis bear too much of a burden. And, countless families struggle in silence with the consequences of mental illness each day. 

We have to try and stop this. It will be a long journey involving the personal choices of individuals and families, public discussions, mental health reforms, a change in the culture – you name it. My sincere hope is that I can help by telling my story.   

None of us understood what was in Elliot’s head – he hid it from not only his family, but also from mental health professionals and law enforcement.  Looking back now through a tragic hindsight, I have begun to understand that there are traits, markers if you will, that family members can look out for in loved ones.

It’s important to note that the vast majority of mentally ill people are not violent. I am only speaking from my perspective and in the hope that families may be informed, vigilant and more able to take action. I am painfully and honestly trying to both reflect and learn more about what markers matter most. I am sharing my story and my initial reflections in an effort to save others from the kind of pain and suffering that Elliot caused. 

I hope you find the resources on this site useful. It is just a start and by no means comprehensive. I am just doing what I can under the circumstances with the help of family and friends. We have also created a way for you to share your story here if you so choose. My simple message is, if in doubt about a family member, please ask for help. 

Sincerely, 

Peter Rodger

Notes

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