Today’s episode is focused on Eyes Wide Open giving with our very special guest, Andy Pillay, who supports a mental health cause. In this show, we will hear his heartbreaking story and the resolve Andy has displayed in taking on this venture.
He found in his work at his pharmacy that patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and severe depression were not being adequately taken care of inside the medical field. Andy’s heart went out to those suffering from these mental illnesses, their families, and others who they impacted. He wanted to make a difference for these patients and then found out his son was schizophrenic.
Andy’s son, now an adult, stopped taking his medication. Since his son was an adult, he could not get medical information from his doctors, so he did not know his son stopped taking medication. He then started a different medication, and Andy soon realized his son started being quieter and slipping into a darker place emotionally. From time to time, he would talk about life being “hopeless.”
Nolan, Andy’s son, had problems trying to hold onto a job for more than a day or two. He attended community college and had a good command of the English language. His dad suggested that he teach English to non-English speakers. Nolan had a black belt in Taekwondo.
With his parents getting older, Nolan was concerned about finances and being able to support his parents in their older life. “He was a very loving child, amiable. He came from a family of high achievers. I think that he was disappointed in the fact that he wasn’t making progress. He found that he was not capable of keeping up with them.”
Nolan decided that he wanted to “save his family,” and in doing so, he was able to purchase a gun, and on January 31st, 2017, he walked into his home and shot his mother and his younger brother. He was then taken away into police custody, and his father was thrown into a world of living without his family and assisting his son’s on his court case.
Andy has created the organization “Caring For the Mentally Ill,” a 501-3C organization, to provide those with mental illness a chance at life.
In This Episode: [01:09] Andy tells us about his background and his story growing up in South Africa. [03:53] He talks about his experience with people who had seriously ill mental disorders. [07:45] Symptoms of these three mental illnesses and how they impact family. [10:34] How Andy’s son was diagnosed with schizophrenia. [13:14] The wide-ranging and deep rooted side effects of antipsychotic drugs. [18:27] His son, now an adult, changed his medication and started to feel hopeless. [23:54] Nolan was unable to hold a job and earn money, and had a feeling of responsibility of taking care of his parents. [27:25] Andy’s other son, Nolan’s brother, was an exceptional artist and was successful. [29:01] Nolan’s failure to accomplish what was important to him - taking care of his parents. [30:15] How Nolan purchased a gun and killed two members of his family in his home. [34:34] Both attorneys decided that Nolan’s case was not guilty in the case of insanity. [38:40] Andy talks about his cause and charity he is supporting. Guest Bio Andy Pillay grew up in South Africa and came to the US to work in the pharmaceutical industry in 1991 with his wife and two elementary-school-aged sons. He found the opportunity to work in the States appealing, and this, along with the political unease of his country, led him to make a move westward.
While working in the pharmaceutical industry, he found that there was a group of severely ill patients with mental diseases that were neglected, and research for their illness was not adequately funded. One of his sons was then diagnosed with schizophrenia and was seeing a psychologist and psychiatrist.
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