Dear Abby: Better mental health care could save lives

DEAR ABBY: I have listened to our president and various candidates comment on gun control after the shooting at the college in Oregon. Do you remember the saying, “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people”? Gun control is not going to stop this. What IS needed (or at least would help) is more mental health care.

It seems every time a person takes the notion to shoot others, someone says, “He was depressed.” Never during the 20 years I have battled depression have I ever wanted to shoot anyone. There have been times when the urge to shoot myself was almost overwhelming, but I NEVER felt like shooting a bunch of strangers. Abby, I’m writing this to defend those of us who are truly fighting depression. — DEPRESSED IN TEXAS

DEAR DEPRESSED: Misinformation about mental illness is a contributor to the stigma that surrounds it. The triggers that have led to the plague of mass shootings in this country are the result of individuals with severe psychosis and the impossible task their families have faced in getting their loved ones the ongoing medical and psychiatric treatment they needed.

DEAR ABBY: The man I lived with for 25 years, “Craig,” and I have split. It was my decision. He now has a new woman in his life, and she is pregnant. Craig and I share a 23-year-old son.

Craig calls me often. He’s my best friend and I wish him the best, but I get the feeling he is unhappy with this woman and feels trapped. He calls to ask me for advice and talk about the problems he has with her. The woman has forbidden him to have contact with me so he has to sneak the calls.

Should I not talk to him anymore, or leave it to him to make that decision? It seems to me he still needs me in his life as a friend. Is he emotionally cheating on this new woman? — SYMPATHETIC EX IN VIRGINIA

DEAR EX: If Craig needs counseling, he should be getting it from an unbiased professional. His lady friend obviously views you as her rival, which is why she has forbidden him to contact you. It’s time to ask yourself how being in the middle of this makes you feel. If the answer is “not good,” then tell Craig you don’t want to cause problems in his new relationship, and sneaking around is dishonest and childish. And yes, this is a form of cheating because Craig is still emotionally dependent on you.

DEAR ABBY: I am a woman who works in an office building. What’s the proper etiquette when the cleaning service is cleaning the restroom? If it’s a woman, I tend to go in anyway. If it’s a man, I wait (most of the time). — RESTROOM ETIQUETTE

DEAR R.E.: I don’t think there is a rule of etiquette regarding this. When the cleaning crew (or janitor) is in the restroom, there is usually a sign posted to that effect. In many cases, if the janitor is a male in a women’s restroom, he will immediately exit the room. However, if that doesn’t happen, it’s then up to the individual to determine if her call of nature is so urgent it must be heeded immediately.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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