In this country a scene all too common is happening over and over in this country: a deranged man enters a public facility and starts shooting everyone. Its found out later in the news that he was suffering from XYZ Mental Illness...
I wanted to start this thread after the tragic events that unfolded today in Connecticut (my condolences to all the families effected)
Now it seems like some of these events could have been stopped had someone noticed, or if the person had adequate access to mental health services
When i used to work in LA i did a lot of psychiatric transports on the ambulance (mainly 5150 holds). I've noticed a lot of these patients were given a couple meds and then thrown out on the street and forgotten till they act up again and go through the cycle again.
I personally think there should be more public education on noticing and reporting the signs of a person who is a threat to others or them selves or unable to care for them selves.
I also think there should be more funding towards mental health institutions as well.
note i am only speaking from what i have seen with my experience on the ambulance, if anyone who works at a psychiatric/mental health facility please share your thoughts as well
what do you think? is mental health/psychiatric care is inadequate in the US?
Dec 15, '12
I asked a similar question in the recovery forum, but specifically to the health care professionals who have mental illness. In short, the answer is yes, I think it is very inadequate.
Can I add something? I want to mention that I don't think Autism or mental health issues should be the automatic reasoning behind heinous crimes. There are many people with these issues who don't do anything; if anything contribute wonderful things to society. People need to take responsibility. Also, think...is it scarier to think a "sane" person or someone who wanted revenge (remember, this wasn't a random school or random class he shot up--it was his mother's school/class) did this? The answer is yes. This isn't a problem only in mental illness (and Autism. I am seeing Autism starting to get the same stigma).
But, in regards to funding, proper/adequate staffing, etc., yes, mental health needs an overhaul.
Last edit by wish_me_luck on Dec 15, '12
Dec 15, '12
by Sadala, RN
I'm a Gen X'r. From what I recall, things took a serious nosedive during the Reagan era. I'm actually pretty conservative about government spending. That said, I remember a time when we did not see mental health patients roaming the streets unable to care for themselves and/or committing these heinous mass murders. Because the more seriously mentally ill were, if not institutionalized, at least having their needs met on an outpatient basis at these same institutions. It also decreased the tremendous stress that is frequently placed on families who deal with very serious mental illness.
The last four or five paragraphs of this blog articulates it fairly well.
Ronald Reagan: The Bad and the Ugly - The Daily Nugget
p.s. Mental health care continued to roll back. In the late 80's working in psych, patients actually got a fairly long treatment time in residential care. Their families participated also, because frequently, changes in the family were necessary, not just in the person undergoing treatment. Now the patient may get two or three days in acute care. Mental illness simply no longer has ANY parity with other medical issues.
p.p.s. Even in years prior to that, though, there were incidents that involved people with serious mental health issues. For instance, Charles Whitman had a brain tumor. Now, that would have been difficult to foresee unless someone had prevailed upon him to seek care (as I gather that he himself noticed and wrote about the fact that something was wrong with him).
Richard Chase had schizophrenia. I believe that WAS known prior to his crime, but he was not receiving regular care.
But it does seem that now, with so many untreated/under treated individuals, the potential for psychotic episodes is much greater. And sometimes, these episodes will include violence.
Last edit by Sadala on Dec 15, '12