News Story: Pregnant Mom Drives Minivan with Three Kids into Ocean

This story has been all over…well, everywhere.  Television, Facebook, Twitter, and the internet in general.  Ebony Wilkerson, a 32-year-old mother, drove her minivan into the ocean.  In the vehicle with her were her three children (ages 3, 9, and 10).  She is also pregnant.  Fortunately, bystanders intervened and rescued all of them.

Several additional important pieces of information:

1)  Ebony’s family had asked police to do a wellcheck on her earlier in the day.  Why?  Because she had been talking about demons and had the children in the car with her.  Though her family didn’t believe she’d hurt the kids, they were concerned about her behavior.

2)  She was a domestic violence victim, trying to avoid being found by her abusive ex-husband, and was on her way to a safe shelter.  Recent trauma could certainly have impacted her state of mind.

What really strikes me about all of this is the reaction of the public.  I’ve seen many people post about this on Facebook, many more people commenting on those posts, and endless analysts on tv weighing in with their opinions.  EVERYONE, so far, seems to have a great deal of empathy for Ebony.  The reactions are that of concern that she get the help she needs.  I’ve seen nothing but understanding for this woman, who desperately needs exactly that right now.

Not so long ago, there would have been no questions about what had led to her actions.  No curiosity about the context.  The public would have had her charged and convicted, regardless of the circumstances, and there would have been no discussion of getting her mental health help.  We, as a country, have come a long way in a short time toward embracing mental health awareness and removing the stigma associated with getting therapy.  That can only result in making us happier and healthier!