We need to advocate for better mental health | allnurses

We need to advocate for better mental health

  1. 6 I am glued to the TV tonight watching the coverage of horrific events in Newtown, CT. My heart breaks for all involved. The victims and their families, the survivors, the responding police/fire/ems/counselors/Danbury Hospital....

    The whole thing is surreal yet I look at a small town like that and I understand how easily we all believe we are ready because we do emergency drills and becuse we also believe that it is far away and it wont ever happen where we live.

    Newtown is in my home state and I have nieces and nephews in school in CT....my heart stopped when I saw the first report. It restated when I saw it was not where they live.

    Then I started to think about what I would do if it happened in my school. I have the shakes just thinking about it.

    Am I ready, really ready????? I dont know, I think I am....

    What would i do? How would I react? Scares the ever living stuffing out of me that is for sure.

    He was a known face to them, the son of one of their teachers. How many times has your kids or spouse or friends stopped by to see you at work?

    We will never know as the (alleged) shooter is said to have killed himself after killing 20 kids and 7 other adults. He sounds like he had some mental health issues...how many times have we hears that in these cases?

    How many times have we heard how our mental health system is broken, that we can name some kids in our school who we think may have the ability to do this???

    I know I can.

    Please , Please, let us hold these precious little children and the others in our hearts.

    Let us not forget the impact on our 1st reponders. These are their friends, family and neighboors (small town of <30,000)

    If you have children, hug them extra tight tonight, tell them you love them.

    Advocate for improved mental health care for all. We as a profession can do that collectively.
    Last edit by NutmeggeRN on Dec 14, '12 : Reason: Spelling
  2. Visit  NutmeggeRN profile page

    About NutmeggeRN

    NutmeggeRN has '30+' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'kids'. From 'New England'; Joined Dec '11; Posts: 1,305; Likes: 1,898.

    17 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  adnrnstudent profile page
    2
    Gotta be real careful naming kids. I'm a odd duck with my ADHD & personality quirks and would never hurt anyone but I fit the criteria. Think of all the odd doctors. Odd & brilliant go hand in hand for a lot of us and most of us odd ducks would never hurt anyone because we have a intact value system.
    VivaLasViejas and barbyann like this.
  4. Visit  RN58186 profile page
    11
    Yes, absolutely we need to advocate for better mental health care. In all countries.

    But what really bugs me is whenever something like this happens the media announces "had mental health issues" or "had stopped his/her psychiatric medications". As someone who has a mental health diagnosis, and has endured the stigma attached to it, those kind of statements I find annoying at best and offensive at worst. The media would not announce that the person was diabetic who forgot their insulin, or a cancer patient on chemo. Yet, it is considered appropriate to advance the stigma of mental health patients as violent even though most of us are not. Mental health patients are fair game for having the details of their medical condition and compliance to treatment splashed over the airwaves in a way that would never happen to any other illness. I want to know what makes it acceptable to broadcast this kind of information about anyone, psychiatric patients or otherwise. Why are mental health patients any less deserving of privacy than other patients?

    Okay, rant over.....
    doni718, squidbilly, smurfynursey, and 8 others like this.
  5. Visit  NutmeggeRN profile page
    1
    So true RN 58186 and there is no rant, you speak the the truth.

    I meant no offense and apologize if I did. The media runs with any little bit of information as if it is their job to figure out why something so incomprensible happened. I have friends and many kids with a mental health diagnosis and try to be sensitive to it. They were wrong on many fronts yesterday in their quest to be first with breaking news....
    the whole thing is just horrible in so many ways
    VivaLasViejas likes this.
  6. Visit  wish_me_luck profile page
    3
    rn58186, agree, agree, agree. I am tired of people blaming mental illness. There are so many factors that people are not considering--his parents divorced, which affected him (the news reporting that) and he had an altercation with people at that school. They even went further and mentioned Autism and personality disorder (not just mental illness). I am terrified of opinions from people who know nothing about Autism or PDs or mental illness.

    This should be the best reason for breaking this stigma and being open and honest about mental illness. People are terrified of the stigma and won't get help. If they aren't getting help, then that's when these things are possible.
  7. Visit  BostonTerrierLoverRN profile page
    2
    I too separate out mental illness and pure evil acts

    Two totally different animals. It's hard to believe- but there are monsters among us- in sheep's clothing.

    I too also call for more wholistic psychiatric, mental healthcare- but I do still separate the two.
    Tina, RN and VivaLasViejas like this.
  8. Visit  VivaLasViejas profile page
    0
    Quote from RN58186
    Yes, absolutely we need to advocate for better mental health care. In all countries.

    But what really bugs me is whenever something like this happens the media announces "had mental health issues" or "had stopped his/her psychiatric medications". As someone who has a mental health diagnosis, and has endured the stigma attached to it, those kind of statements I find annoying at best and offensive at worst. The media would not announce that the person was diabetic who forgot their insulin, or a cancer patient on chemo. Yet, it is considered appropriate to advance the stigma of mental health patients as violent even though most of us are not. Mental health patients are fair game for having the details of their medical condition and compliance to treatment splashed over the airwaves in a way that would never happen to any other illness. I want to know what makes it acceptable to broadcast this kind of information about anyone, psychiatric patients or otherwise. Why are mental health patients any less deserving of privacy than other patients?

    Okay, rant over.....
    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!

    I wonder sometimes if society at large has any clue at all how much those of us with MI dread hearing that a horrific crime such as this may have arisen from a psychiatric condition. Especially if it's the same one we---or someone we care about---suffer from. We fear being tarred with the same brush, even though we live our lives as decent human beings and would be the last folks one would suspect of harboring murderous thoughts. Unfortunately, it's all too easy to explain everything away by using the term "mental illness" when a time bomb goes off and tragedy occurs. Will we ever learn?
  9. Visit  kat7464 profile page
    4
    Sure there are mental health issues, but don't forget that we have kicked God out of our schools, our country, our lives. How can we expect His protection when we have rejected Him on almost every level (unless it's convenient). I am personally sick and tired of feeling like my pity must be shifted from victims and families to these low-lifes who slaughter because they have problems. We all have problems!!
    SchoolRN2010, Tina, RN, pretty70, and 1 other like this.
  10. Visit  tellis6645 profile page
    0
    I was watching CNN when all this was happening and they had Dr. Phil on there. He was saying.. "If you know anybody who might seem to be mentally unstable, please call your local law enforcement, they can help you". This is your responsibility. I had to give a sarcastic little laugh. Society does very little to help with mental health issues. I have a family member who is very unstable. I could see him doing this in a second. Have we called the police with our evidence of his threats and crazy behavior.. yup. Did he get arrested.. yep. Did he get help? No, he got probation and is back home. I fear for my life, and the lives of my family and the best they can do is probation. It happens all too often. I agree that we need a better system in place. Im just waiting for the day, my "family member" snaps. So many lives ruined over the inability to help one individual.
  11. Visit  wish_me_luck profile page
    0
    tell, I have to laugh at that too. You can't call local law enforcement on mentally unstable people. The only way they can be detained for anything in this capacity is if they are a threat to themselves or others. They have to say something specific that would be of the affirmative (the way the laws are written) and to be quite frank, society should not be in a position to decide what is mentally unstable or not. There's definitely criteria the person has to meet.

    It scares me that Dr. Phil is dispensing this advice.

    I think we are going backwards in mental health care/issues/advocacy. Laws protect people with mental illness with ADA. But then you have state laws (that if they are stricter) can over ride federal law. That's why The Code of VA over rides HIPAA. I lost my privacy rights.

    I am waiting for us to be chained to walls again or be killed in mass in a Holocaust. Yes, I truly do fear this. It's like a witch hunt anymore.
    Last edit by wish_me_luck on Dec 16, '12
  12. Visit  NutmeggeRN profile page
    0
    Obviously no one would be named, but more than once, when something has happened involving those I am familiar with, I make a note to myself-I knew it. I'm not talking about "odd duck" "quirky personality" types and maybe I was still too shaken to clearly articulate what I meant.

    I am talking about when a child is an animal killer, when they act out and are abusive, when they self harm, when they set fires. when they have NO remorse..... I am talking about behavior that is out of the norm.

    I am NOT talking about depression, anxiety and so many of the issues that folks deal with and manage everyday..

    I see it every day...kids who cannot get the care they need due to a marginal area agency, due to lack of transportation to said care, due to kids living in squallor because of their parents inability to function, due to children with no coping skills having children of their own and perpetuating the cycle, due to the self medication of parents and kids with illicit drugs and alcohol.

    That is where my frustration is.
  13. Visit  wish_me_luck profile page
    2
    nh, I hear what you are saying. But, I have BPD. The news is reporting Adam Lanza had a personality disorder. I know there's different types and you know that. But, lay people/society has never heard of a PD on the whole, so they don't realize there's different ones.

    Society tends to group people together whether it's the same or not. That's why mental illness on the whole gets a bad rap. We should be fighting this stigma, so people are moring willing to get tx, provide services to get people to appts, etc.
    VivaLasViejas and NutmeggeRN like this.
  14. Visit  jbudrick profile page
    0
    I think the appropriate criteria to identify people who are likely to commit this type of crime would be "out of touch with reality." Unfortunately, treatment for mental illness is not where it should be. Every patient should be screened for reality orientation whenever they are seen by a medical professional, and people who are close the individual should be able to request a screening. Most people with mental illness are alert, oriented and their illnesses are well-controlled. While some individual rights may be given up by a required screening, medical professionals will not be making unbased accusations. The young man involved was only 20 which puts him at the right age for his first pyschotic episode. As a nurse, I have encountered patients who are definitely "not in touch" with reality, but since they were not a danger to themselves or others, they were not hospitalized. Of course, we do have sociopaths who are just plain evil and would knowingly commit this type of crime. Because this young man obviously planned this incident, I cannot help but wonder if someone might have noticed his state of mind and, maybe, if someone had screened him for reality orientation, they would have discovered he was having paranoid delusions/hallucinations which could have prevented this tragedy. I imagine lots more information will be surfacing in the next few weeks about this young man.

    My hope is people will realize the difference between mental illness and psychotic behavior and, maybe, a sociopath.

    My prayers are with the families of Newtown.


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