"He never wanted to identify with being mentally ill," she said. "That was part of the problem."

A quote from Louise Gbadamashi, former manager of the Thresholds-Mary Hill House, a home for troubled teens where Steve Kazmierczak, last Thursday's mass-murderer in Dekalb, spent some time.

Says it all, really. Unless you accept something is wrong, you are not going to work to fix it.

I have some understanding for his view – I've met it repeatedly – as mental illness is a label that invites misunderstanding and prejudice. But you will never get better if you hide from reality. It is no different from accepting a serious physical illness. Healing only comes from understanding and action to address a malady. Ignoring it does not make it go away.

We are perhaps fortunate that only a very, very few of those who chose to ignore their mental illness turn into murderers. The usual outcome is simply a life barely lived. In a way, that is a loss of life too.