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Sandy Hook and mental illness

Like so many people, I struggle with prioritizing my time.  There are always more things that I wish to do than I can find the time for.  There are so many thoughts that I truly wish to share, and yet I don't seem to take the time to come here and write.  After several hours of therapy at my office, I am drained and won't discipline myself to sit down and put a few thoughts together.  Most of the writing I do ends up being in emails to people, or perhaps on an internet forum.  Much of what I write for selected audiences would also be appropriate to share here (if modified for privacy reasons at times), but it takes discipline!  So, without further ado, let me try once more.

After the Sandy Hook shootings, I had many people wish to discuss these issues with me.  I spent a half-hour on air with Michael Hart (local conservative Christian talk radio host) talking about mental illness and violence.  It saddens me to see this tragic event being used to further the political agenda of many elected officials.  The recent gun control push misses the mark so badly, and yet that is the dialogue that comes out of this.  Seeing the surviving children used to sing at a sporting event appeared particularly callous.  WHY would we want to make them 'celebrities' because of what they experienced?  This is NOT the way to deal with trauma.  It just makes them feel MORE abnormal.  Their fame comes with the death of the schoolmates.  This makes no rational sense.

Similarly the approach of producing more and more laws about guns doesn't get at the issue.  Almost none of the proposed laws would have even prevented the massacre.  When these mass murder events happen, they are virtually always perpetrated by mentally ill people.  One suggestion is to lock up all mentally ill!  But that doesn't work, as very few mentally ill ever engage in such behaviors.  We won't incarcerate a criminal until proven guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt" as determined in court (and these are people we KNOW commit crimes) so to limit the freedom of a mentally ill individual for far less evidence is unjust.

Resources for the treatment of mentally ill persons have been declining for many years, and given the changes in healthcare, it continues to further restrict reimbursement for mental health treatment.  Here in Alabama I am being told by my patients that their insurance companies are refusing to provide ANY coverage for out-of-network providers (like me).  Control over healthcare by the government and a few large insurance companies is wrong, but this is the trend.  Wouldn't it be great if psychiatric care got even a fraction of the attention of "gun control?"

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Reader Comments (1)

Quote : "Wouldn't it be great if psychiatric care got even a fraction of the attention of "gun control?""

Even if it was one tenth of one percent, it would be greatly appreciated. Lord knows it is needed.

March 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJameson Kampo

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