Article by Jaclyn Cosgrove and Vallery Brown | The Oklahoman | December 23, 2012

Dr. R. Murali Krishna had the day planned out like any other Oklahoman.

Exercise that morning. Go to work. The usual.

But at 9:02 a.m., April 19, 1995, Krishna, like many Oklahoma City residents, heard and felt a loud boom.

Krishna, who was the chief of staff at St. Anthony Hospital, remembers the day of the Oklahoma City bombing in his book “VIBRANT: To Heal and Be Whole — From India to Oklahoma City,” released earlier this month in paperback. He partnered with Kelly Dyer Fry, editor of The Oklahoman and vice president of news for OPUBCO Communications Group, to write the book, which focuses on his life and lessons learned.

As a nation tries to heal from the Newtown school tragedy, trying to understand why 20 children and six adults were massacred, it’s hard not to think back to that day when Oklahoma City experienced its worst day.

And it’s hard not to start a larger conversation about the mental health system in this nation.

Krishna, the president and CEO of Integris Mental Health, has dedicated most of his life to understanding pain, suffering and the human spirit. His book revisits trauma from his own childhood and shares his path “to vibrancy.”

“Emotions affect the body all of the time,” Krishna said. “Everything boils down to how the brain, body and spirit interact together.”

Addressing mental illness

Krishna said about 10 percent of the population suffers from depression.

And those who don’t seek treatment are more likely to suffer from other health problems, including heart attacks and immune system problems. A mental illness can cut a person’s life span by 20 years to 30 years, he said.

“People suffer and are so devastated, but they don’t want to talk about it,” Krishna said.

We need to talk and share experiences and de-stigmatize mental illness, he said. Learning to modulate emotions in healthy ways and the simple act of quieting the mind, slowing down and breathing can help.

“Mental health deserves as much attention as any other disease,” Krishna said. “Most people can be returned to a good place in society.”

Krishna’s book, published this month, is available at local bookstores and online at Border’s, Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It is available for electronic readers as well as hardback and paperback.

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