Mental Health

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    There is a a phenomena that i’ve been observing for the past few years. I’ve noticed that many teens that leave the fold, are later diagnosed with mental health problems. Many of them have borderline personality disorder, and or post traumatic stress disorder. Could it be that our community is shunning and stigmatizing these issues, thereby encouraging these people to seek help elsewhere? Could it be that if we were more excepting of mental health issues alot of our teens would stay with us?

    Be Happy

    Goodness, I think there are 2 different issues here. Many teens that leave the fold are suffering post traumatic stress and as a result leave the fold. The cause is usually problems with parents & Rebbes/teachers. Most families will hide mental illness with whatever and however they can. Unfortunately often ending with marriages that break up. . .

    tomim tihye

    The symptoms of mental illness are often not recognized as such until something drastic occurs; in some instances, this occurrence is leaving the fold.


    Could it be though that if things wouldnt be covered up as much people wouldnt feel as inclined to seek outside help? Also, just because theyre not recognized, doesnt mean theyre not there…

    tomim tihye

    What do you mean by “outside help”? Drugs and other garbage, or therapists from a society that you perceive to be more accepting of MH illness?


    Both. I think theres a feeling of being shunned/ misunderstood for feeling certain things/ acting in a certain way. This cuauses a teen to be more likely to rebel. If the teen has good friends, he/she will seek help from a therapist who is weel versed in and excepting of mental disorders. If however, the teen is hanging out with the wrong crowd chances are they will turn to drugs and alchohol and through that get theraputic help eventually…


    I don’t think that post traumatic stress disorder or any mental health problems is an excuse for leaving the fold. No matter if they are shunned or not given the help they need.

    tomim tihye

    Mov. Mount: I believe that there’s more “ignorance” out there than “covering up.”

    You describe a problem of parents not knowing/understanding their teenagers’ feelings (whether these feelings are from PTSD or other MH issues). This is very prevalent in every society; perhaps it is exacerbated when there is a significant discrepancy between the parents’ upbringing and that of their children- e.g. parents were raised in a more conservative society than today’s American teens.

    Rochelle: Who needs an excuse? We’re not dealing with rational adults, but messed-up teenagers! And they may not be consciously choosing to leave the fold, but they just start doing things because of their negative emotions…aveira goreres aveira.


    This is why it’s important for parents to communicate with their children early on so they have that connection and can help their children with whatever they need. There’s a story I heard from a friend reading Mispacha magazine, about a guy who was having a hard time behaving at school. He didn’t mean to, he just couldn’t help it. If I remember correctly, he had ADHD. He was having a hard with everything and so he went off. But later, when he was given the support he needs, he came back.

    Sidenote, just want to add that for ADHD, besides medicine, a special nutrician plan and exercise helps

    There’s a book called ‘At Risk-Never beyond Reach’ By Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch which helps parents communicate with their children


    We are actually causing our children to have all these mental health issues. We allow all these chemicals to enter their body which causes the brain to be destroyed.

    We use chemical cleaners

    we vaccinate our children

    give them chemical food

    we give them milk ,eggs, and meat which is full of a antibiotics.

    We are basically making our kids sick and then we drug them up which keeps them sick. I read somewhere that all these vaccines cause people to disconnect from Hashem. This was from a non jewish source. Dont we see this so clearly?

    The problem is that we are forced to do what we are told and people think they dont have a say int he matter. Keep your child healthy by keeping them away from all these listed above., which cause ADD and all the other great problems our children have.


    I have many things to say…

    chance: I believe you are finding things that pointing to items like chemicals and vaccines is a way to blame things on something that we can control… I think you realize, though… that the problem is a lot more complex than that…

    RAchel: I agree that no matter what a person’s circumstances a person has the bechirah to do what is right… but it is only natural that when a person is put into a situation where he develops PTSD (which usually comes from some sort of extreme abuse) and is then misunderstood by his community or not emotionally supported by the people that are supposed to care about him, he will be confused and not be able to think clearly…

    I am not saying that it is okay for people to leave the fold because they feel victimized… People need to get the help they need without being stigmatized…

    Also, I think people need to be aware that PTSD is not a mental illness that is genetic, (not that that should be stigmatized, either), it is a disorder that stems from the processing of a traumatic event that happened… This is almost never the fault of the person who suffers from it… and is also something that is ‘curable’… Processing the trauma with somebody who knows how to help the person is vital for the healing… When there is no help made available to the victim, he will need to help himself through other means, which unfortunately may end up being drugs or alcohol…


    Chance; Your post is excellent.

    Look at boys in public schools, they are not taught properly and when

    that is reflected in their sitting nervously in their seats, right away they are forced to take Ritalin which affects the same centers in the brain as Cocaine does.

    Then we wonder why they are seriously falling behind the girls in terms of how many are getting into and graduating college.


    To chance,

    Stop with the conspiracy theories. If you have any scientific proof to any of your claims -then by all means post it.



    Health, ask any doctor about the antibiotic crises.

    For some illnesses usually treated with antibiotics doctors are saying they have practically nothing these days to treat some of them because the overuse of antibotics has created strains that are extremly resistent to just about all classes of antibiotics.

    People are so indocrtinated with the idea of taking a drug for everything that if their children get the sniffles they insist the doctor give the kid antibiotics even when the doctor is trying to tell them “it’s just a cold, your kid will get over it and antibiotics would be an overuse”.

    Go ask any pediatrician.


    To hereorthere,

    I’m well aware of antibiotic problems. A few incompetent physicians have created this problem. Most docs will not give antibiotics to pts. with viruses even if pressured. But, what does this have to do with mental illness?


    To Health,

    This is not a conspiracy theory. Drugs and vaccines are pushed way to hard on people, and people can do something about it. Drugs will always have a side effect and you dont realize this and go to the doctor and get another perscription. An example is ritalin, which causes depression so you go get an antidepresant which causes sleeping problems so you get a sleeping pill. This is a cycle that can be broken when we treatthe UNderlying problem. My father was taking a cholesterol lowering medication and then he started getting acid reflux. He went to the doctor who gave him a medication for the reflux. I told my father that calcium takes away the acid reflux but the cholesterol medication was causing his reflux. He said he will listen to me and take fiber to lower the cholesterol and get rid of the meds which are causing too many problems.

    All medication and vaccines have side effects ,you can check for proof by going to Dr tenpennys website, and start doing your homework. Gary null has great documentaries about this too.


    Chance you are 100% right. Part of the problem are the foods children consume. Sweets (lollies here) are coated with sugar and chemicals which are known to be a contributing factor in ADD and hyperactivity in Children. Proper nutrition and having parents maintaining a stable stable home can help. Many of our health problems could be better serviced if we make intelligent and informed choices as far eating less trans fats, junk food and list goes on.


    Plus, besides better nutrition, people also need excercise


    Thanks sm29- you are 100% right.


    Chance -you’re 100% (almost) wrong. I actually posted other things to you, but it was deleted. All drugs or vaccines don’t have side effects -they have the possibility of having side effects. Most will never have a side effect. If you do experience a side effect, you should contact your physician. The doc will either continue the med, change the med, or stop the med. You shouldn’t do this on your own. Your father’s case is rare. The doc opted to treat the side effect as opposed to stopping the original med. You better monitor your father’s chol level to make sure that his max level isn’t being exceeded. I hope you don’t cause your father to become ill with cardiovascular disease. CVS disease is the leading cause of death in this country!


    To yankdownunder,

    Sugar/ sweets have been disproven time and again in studies that they aren’t the cause of ADD/ADHD! This doesn’t mean I like all the junk people give kids.


    Kids don’t just “leave the fold”, today’s kids are pushed and shoved off the derech. When in our history have there ever been so many broken and dysfunctional homes? When in our history have kids been thrown out of yeshiva without regard to their personal well being like is happening today? When in our history have so many young adults and children been taken away from us in such large proportions? Our frum society is spiraling out of control with too many issues that torture kids and send them on a long dark journey.

    People develop many health and mental issues due to environmental stimulus. When so much stress and pressure is put on children, when so much stress and pressure are put on young adults, when so much stress and pressure is put on anyone, underlying issues and illnesses will surface. WE as a society are not concerning ourselves with what the effect of OUR choices and actions will have on our children. Our kids today are walking around with so much baggage and carrying the burden of unbelievable pain to the point that they will do whatever is necessary to be “numb” and oblivious to the pain. Kids self-medicate, self-mutilate and basically self-destruct. It is NOT a choice they are making it is a result of OUR neglect of their needs. Simple and basic needs such as a sense of security, self-worth, self-esteem and self-confidence. Simple and basic needs such as a two parent household, a home filled with joy and shalom bayis, WE are not securing safe and happy Jewish environments for our children.

    Kids have two places that supply them with a sense of safety and security. The home is number one and the second is school. If either one of these havens become unsafe or unstable, they start to stumble and fall. Their worlds start to crumble to the point of non-recognition. They carry within them a pain that festers and grows to the point of explosion. Who do they turn to? Who should they trust? Is it any wonder that they wind up (if they are lucky) in therapy and with a diagnosis that labels them with a mental disorder?


    Thanks for putting 100% (almost) wrong in parenthasis. because your 100 percent wrong! Where is the science you have? Listen to Dr Russel BLaylock, Dr Palevsky, Dr Eisenstein, Dr Tenpenny. They did the research. You did not. Look at the medications that are pulled from the market after thousand of people died. They know that these medications are dangerous but will push it onto the market anyways. Look at VIOXX, good example, they got sued and then put Gardasil ,a vaccine on the market which has caused over 50 deaths and more than 9,000 adverse reactions.

    And by the way, when my father went the dr to complain about heartburn there were thousand of explainations for this but was never linked to the medication. Drs dont know everything. They just treat the problem they see.

    I dont know what you wrote originallly, but I am okay with any kind of attack since you did not educate yourself yet about these danger. I hope that you will start doing some research and I am sure you will be shocked that I am right on target. I hope this will open peoples eyes to get educated.


    What- Antibiotic, What- Chemicals etc.

    Do you know that there is so called FOOD which is one piece of

    Chemical, So the people who’re not eating Meat, Eggs, and similar real food might be eating far more Poisonous Chemicals.

    So what’s the real cause which makes the most sense (as I heard of).


    So what’s the real cause which makes the most sense (and as I heard of). The answer is that WE ARE IN A FAST. What does this mean? We are (for the last centuries) not touching and for purposely preventing the- studied and proven “Whole Food” of thousand of years. What this is- SATURATED FAT (C’hema’h V’cholo’v) which this is Butter and Meat originally.

    Have someone realize that for fifty years ago (or previous generation), there wasn’t obvious of any kind of ABCDEFG…Disorders?

    For now.


    Sam -What’s your obsession with fat? Did your mother only cook with chicken schmaltz? Antibiotics are good for you, when you need it. Excess fat is never good for you!


    “we vaccinate our children”

    And before we did, they died from smallpox, encephalitis,flu, meningitis, and pneumonia, as well as caused birth defects in others, when they contracted rubella and passed it to pregnant women who might not have had rubella as a child. Thank G-d we have certain vaccinations today.


    The most common mental desease that causes kids to go off the derech is B.E.C.H.I.R.A.


    Aries has a good point. A lot of teens are under too much pressure and can’t take it. There are things to help them back. But we should do prevention by giving them what they need so they don’t go off.

    If some of them need a slower pace, then fine give that to them.

    If some of them don’t feel the joy of Judaism or understand the meaning, then provide that to them. – It’s important that parents and teachers know what the child going through because they might look okay but really not be. Parents should communicate with them while they are still okay to prevent them going down hill



    Did you ever speak to a teen who went off the Derech?

    Do you think thay are happy and proudly chose to live like meaningless zombies?

    Do you really think that they CHOSE to go off?

    Maybe speak to a few OTD teens and you will be surprsied that it has nothing to do with B.E.C.H.I.R.A. as you so stated.


    artchill- that was a very daring and blatant statemnent- and a really harsh judgement. As a matter of fact most teens that leave the fold dont live their lives like “meaningless zombis”. They hold down jobs, go to college, and make people of themselves..

    But you are right. Many a time its not a straight out act of choice. Its not like every teenager is presented with 2 ways of life on a silver platter and asked to choose. At the same time, its the little choices that lead to them going off the derech. Many times these little choices are influenced by their mental illness. EG, if someone has BPD and does not know how to deal with their emotions, then chances are when they are angry, insteaad of dealing with it in a healthy manner, they will turn the anger inwards and do something self destructive… Which in turn will lead them to beleive that they are bad, and once they’re bad anyways then why not do xyz?


    How can you all make such generalizations? Every teen that goes off has his own story and many many times it has 0 to do with mental health. i know unfortunately of quite a number of mentally not well people who are very frum. I also know a lot of teens that went off that had NOTHING to do with mental health. How can we just come and generalize?

    Mental health problems is also unfortunately an issue that is still shoved under the carpet in the frum community. These people are just as sick as someone with Yena machla (cancer) yet it is NOT viewd like that AT ALL because it is a very different type of machla .


    I read this thread with such mounting fury it was impossible not to comment, and can’t believe it’s even still open.

    Have any of you ever spoken to young women or men suffering from a mental illness?? As a social work student, I have. Do you have any idea whatsoever what it’s like to live in a world of absolute darkness with an ever-present yearning to end your life??? Depression, Bipolar disorder, borderline personality are not controllable illness that are picked by choice! Do you think that young girls tear up their bodies with razor blades and other self-mutilating equipment because there is something wrong with their “bechira??” And Yes, you know what happens in schools? They’re shunned because G-d forbid a child see a psychologist in the frum community. Shidduchim will be ruined, and their “names” ruined forever. So then what happens is they are left to exist in their own world of pain and isolation finding comfort in the streets. How dare anyone on this forum criticize those that leave the fold as a result. And PTSD? Can anyone here judge a girl that has been abused by her family members? Is it that hard to imagine that she will have tremendous anger and hatred in her towards frumkeit? Really, go ahead and blame something that big on her yetzer hara or a vaccination.

    Keep in mind that there are many people with these disorders that are reading what is written here and I could only imagine how they are shaking. Stop posting your insensitive comments until you actually become friends with someone with a mental disorder. Then come back here and continue posting all your educated and hashkafic theories.


    If you want to start another off the derech thread, then do it -but this is about mental health, which only marginally sometimes has to do with kids being OTD. Most OTD kids are not getting that way because of mental health issues and to think otherwise is to belittle the crisis we have of kids who disconnect from Judaism because of reasons that have nothing to do with emotional health.



    I understand your reaction, but you can spare yourself the anguish by understanding the statements. It is a common human frailty that we try to distance ourselves from tragedy by rationalizing “why this can’t happen to me”, most especially when the tragedy strikes close to home. Thus, these insensitive comments are really nothing more than an expression of the posters’ stress at thinking of normal frum kids (who are just like their own!) going OTD. They try to quash their anxiety by saying things like, “only kids with mental health issues would go OTD”, “only kids from abusive homes develop mental health issues”, and reasoning thus that it is within their control to prevent their kids from depression, PTSD, personality disorders, and from going OTD.

    As a social worker, you need to be able to deal with and understand not only the “ones with issues” but also the “normal people”.


    myshadow , i’m 100% with you. Thanks for your “outburst”.


    Having personally gone through a horrifying abusive childhood where I had every “excuse” to go off the derech, have personal experience with people with mental disease and teens who have gone off the derech I can honestly and loudly say that bechira is the bottom line of whether one stays frum or not, period. Unless a teen is so confused that he forgets to eat, sleep, and do other things that a normal, functioning human being doesn’t do and we can classify him/her as so meshugah (I know not it’s not a politically correct word, but for lack of anything else I’ll use it here) as to belong in a home for people who cannot function, then there is free choice regarding yiras shomayim and all other mental disorders are not the real issue here.

    This generation that keeps on churning out “mental disease experts” by the thousands, needs to be able to excuse and explain every single bad behavioral choices under the sun.

    Kid doesn’t listen-he’s diagnosed with …sorry I forgot the initials , but some kind of defiance disorder. Behavioral problems, no it’s not the sugar overdose, ADD, ADHD, or whatever and presto, let’s give pills, medication, therapy and whatnot but let’s not get to the root of the problem.

    Depression too, is treated with pills instead of getting to the root of the problem.

    Now, every parent should always try to grow as a parent and as a Jew, however we are all human and everyone makes mistakes. I have seen children from good homes become OTD kids and kids from dysfunctional homes rise above their above to develope into beautiful people.

    Now mental disease is a very overused excuse for everything under the sun and in this case is being used as an excuse for kids negative behaviours. Do people want to make bad choices? No and yes. They might not like what they’re doing but it’s too hard to change, so make an excuse ,mental health, abused childhood, whatever, so long as it’s not the teen who needs to change his negative behavior.

    Bipolar and borderline personalities are real diseases, but that doesn’t mean one has the excuse to go off the derech because of it. There are enough frum people who are frum and have these diseases.



    What’s your obsession with fat?

    I will answer you exactly on this words!

    As I heard is that (Despite of its out of the blueness) Butter can heal “OCD”.

    Mental health can come from different factors. But this is one of the factors.

    Study out the very source of the Big study(‘s) on Saturated Fat and see how they’re admitting between the rows OR -clearly.

    Any news from the revolution of the few doctors who criticize against that is still not coming out, despite the latest articles in newspapers which this is A sign on the News of what it is about to come (an explosion).



    no one is saying that everything is not labeled in America with every type of yetzer hara being labeled as a syndrome… etc Yes at the bottom of it IS bechira however you can’t deny the fact that there are people who are nebach mentally not well and need to take medication. And no teen goes off the derech because life was blissful. Yes they had bechira and no matter what went on in their lives there’s no excuse but you have to admit there was something there. and the way to get them back is DEFINITELY NOT to start blaming them that they had a choice…

    And again i’m going to ask this question for anyone to pls answer what does kids going off the derech have to do with mentally not well people?


    “And no teen goes off the derech because life was blissful…you have to admit there was something there “

    So what? Everyone has challenges in their lives, some more some less. Life is not a free for all. It’s a precious gift and whatever we have is a present and what we don’t have is not meant for us. We need to take what we have and utilize it to the utmost, not cry that we don’t have.

    “and the way to get them back is DEFINITELY NOT to start blaming them that they had a choice”

    I’m not trying to bring them back. They’ll come back if they want to and when they want to.

    “And again i’m going to ask this question for anyone to pls answer what does kids going off the derech have to do with mentally not well people?”

    That precisely was the point of my previous post- mental health has nothing to do with kids going off the derech.


    “That precisely was the point of my previous post- mental health has nothing to do with kids going off the derech. “

    Wrong. Anyone who goes off the derech is at least a little bit crazy. Ain adam chotei ele im kain nichnas bo ruach shtus.

    Besides what sane person wants to leave the beauty and piece of mind that the Torah gives us?


    Sam -Butter can’t heal OCD! Do you even know what OCD is?

    Clearheaded -Did you ever hear about Dan l’caf zecus? Yea, people have bechira, but just maybe the nisayon was too great for them. How do you know how you would handle xyz mental problems. The gemorah says that if we would have the yetzer horah of avodah zorah, everyone would pick up their coattails to run after it. Al todin etc… Don’t judge up others until you are in their shoes. Every person and situation is different. Have the Jewish middah of Rachmonnus.


    The sad honest truth is that people develop most psychological disorders as a result of bad parenting. The same is true for kids who go “off the derech”.

    You don’t need to molest your kids to be a bad parent. There are far more than enough ways to traumatize your kid in simple everyday interaction.

    If only this, teach your kid that he is an individual and that his feelings and desires are natural and understandable.

    If you can’t handle that, maybe try blaming it on household cleaners.


    clearheaded you clearly didn’t read my whole previous post. no one said they don’t have complete bechira and that going off is not the answer/excuse


    “Wrong. Anyone who goes off the derech is at least a little bit crazy. Ain adam chotei ele im kain nichnas bo ruach shtus.”

    mosherose, we as humans can all sometimes sin by tresspassing the halacha so ruach shtuss can sometimes apply to all of us. Ruach shtuss is not the same as having a mental disorder.

    Health, check up the halachos of dan l’kaf zchus. They don’t apply to those who sin willfully, in public and continually.

    “clearheaded you clearly didn’t read my whole previous post. no one said they don’t have complete bechira and that going off is not the answer/excuse”

    Not no one said, but you did mention bechira. However I simply pointed out the comments that you made which I didn’t agree with.


    Just realized that there are two very similar threads trending now.

    Squeak and sof davar, thanks! 🙂


    I give you all the credit in the world for overcoming wtvr challenges you faced in your life and emerging stronger. But there’s something you’re not understanding here, humans all have different personalities. Some people are strong while others tend to be frail and prone to weakness. Not to compare, but after the Holocaust many many jews went off the D while others held strong to their emunah. Are we G-d forbid able to judge those that were not able to withstand their hellish trials? Obviously not.

    I can say the same thing, “I had every excuse to go off the derech” and didn’t, but that doesn’t make me condemn others for not pulling through. Believe me I watch young women with these disorders struggling daily to understand why they were chosen to live this nightmare of a life. Going off is not their first option. They yearn to fit in and be a part of “normal” jewish life. As a mentally ill patient in a psychiatric ward once told my professor who is a psychologist, “I had all the same dreams you had, I wanted to sit in yeshiva and learn and marry and raise a beautiful family. I can’t do any of that, now what are you gona tell me?”

    “Bipolar and borderline personalities are real diseases,”

    as opposed to?? do some research, visit a psych ward, then tell me if you think clinical depression is still some kind of game.

    “but that doesn’t mean one has the excuse to go off the derech because of it. There are enough frum people who are frum and have these diseases.”

    True there are unfortunately many, speak to them, learn their struggles and empathize with their fight rather than say “that’s no excuse.”

    Bottom line to end my rambling is we cannot judge. Thank G-d for giving you the backbone and emunah to withstand your nisyonos.


    But there’s something you’re not understanding here, humans all have different personalities

    Hashem only gives nisyones to people who can overcome them. I never judge people’s choices in general, however those that continually sin have absolutely no excuse for doing so.

    I know that therapists, psychologists and the like, like to diagnose all kinds behaviors and apply names to them, but the bottom line is that we make our own choices.

    Believe me I watch young women with these disorders struggling daily to understand why they were chosen to live this nightmare of a life. Going off is not their first option. They yearn to fit in and be a part of “normal” jewish life.

    So explain to me why their suffering in life doesn’t make them cry to the Ribono Shel Olam to help them and instead they act out?

    Explain to me exactly why they need to indulge in sin because of their diseases.

    “There are enough frum people who are frum and have these diseases.”

    True there are unfortunately many, speak to them, learn their struggles and empathize with their fight rather than say “that’s no excuse

    Huh? You answered me on my comment that there are enough frum people with these diseases and your answer does not make sense. You say I should learn their struggles rather than say “that’s no excuse”- for what? For them staying frum?


    clearheaded – stop being sooo judgmental! No one really knows what goes on by yenim.



    None of us should play G-d here. We do not know why each person got their specific trial to overcome. I’m not justifying those that go off…I’m saying we shouldn’t judge them. Period. At the end of 120 they are going to have to deal with that on their own. All we can do is accept them and keep trying to help. Judging doesn’t make anything better.

    Your judgements of them “indulging in sin” doesn’t make you more pious or a better person. Rather please try and be dan lekaf zechus. Read through this site,, under mental illness, with an open heart and try to understand what people are dealing with.


    “None of us should play G-d here. We do not know why each person got their specific trial to overcome.”

    I never said that I know the reason why each person got their specific trial. I said that Hashem gave each person the kochos to overcome their spiritual challenges. That’s what we’re here for on planet Earth. That is the purpose of our lives.

    The Torah doesn’t have pretty things to say about people casting off the ohl of Torah.Read the curses in the Torah for when we don’t follow it.

    Yes, I’m very judgemental of those who think Yiddishkeit, the mainstay of our lives, what Jews have given up their lives al kiddush Hashem rather then give up their faith, what Jews kept for thousands of genererations through blood and tears, what Jews have practiced hiddenly under the threat of death is something one has the right to give up for various excuses. A jew cannot give up Yiddishkeit for Socialism, nor Communism nor Zionism and in the 21st century “mental disease”. These are just covers.

    Again, learn the halachos of dan lkaf zchus. Dan lkaf zchus doesn’t apply for someone who openly and continually sins.

    “All we can do is accept them and keep trying to help.”

    I have no problem with accepting them as people even if I don’t agree with their choices. It is between them and Hashem and they certainly will not give din v’cheshbon to me.

    “Judging doesn’t make anything better.”

    Accepting their excuses as valid does not make them become better either. I’m not trying to make anybody see the light. I know what I’m talking about. I’ve never seen any teen or adult that went off the derech come back only because his excuses were accepted as valid. Rather those who came back did it because they wanted to. They realized that the non-frum world is empty and shallow and they returned if they felt they would be accepted. Those that do not want to return will not, unless they become willing later in their lives.

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