Last month, New Orleans attorney, Joseph Giarrusso Jr. took his life after battling with depression. The list of successes in his life – both in his career and personal life – made the news of his death very alarming to the legal community. In a recent article appearing in The Times-Picayune his son speaks about historical misunderstandings of mental illness, which have resulted in a lack of sensitivity and stigma. Such misunderstandings, he points out, can undermine identification of problems thus leading to a delay in treatment. By talking about these issues, he hopes that his father’s death may serve as a teachable moment, propagating awareness, education, and public dialogue. As he eloquently states, “[m]ental illness is not a geographical problem. It is not a socioeconomic problem. It is not a racial problem. This is a problem affecting all of us. Put differently, this is not a ‘their’ problem. It is an ‘our’ problem.”
An obituary for Joseph Giarrusso Jr. can be found here.