Yesterday one of the members of our community was hearing voices that were telling him to kill himself. If you've ever talked with someone who's hearing voices, you'll be familiar with the difficulty inherent in gaining and keeping their attention. Put yourself in their position for a moment and you'll begin to realise how hard it must be to focus on one of many competing demands.
I'm reminded of Andrew Denton's TV show on Angels and Demons, which dealt both sympathetically and helpfully with the topic of mental illness. If you missed it, check out the website and step for a moment into the experience of someone who lives with this type of problem.