shootings and mental health

  1. Does anyone else agree that the USA needs to get their act together on all issues of mental health? The lastest shooting could have been prevented if only the perpretrator could have been treated properly. He refused, and no one could do a thing about it due to his rights. Well he violated 33 peoples rights to live when he snapped. What can we do as health professionals to educate the public and change some laws in the favor of treating these troubled souls.
    Mental illness remains a "closet illness".
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  3. by   pickledpepperRN
    I agree.
    Walking to my car one morning I heard a crash. By the time I got the two blocks to the site a man was lying in the street unconscious.
    A physician was there and 911 had been called. I went to comfort the hysterical driver who hit him.
    A person who lived on that block said the neighbors had been calling the police because a naked man was almost continually walking back and forth across the busy street. He hid in bushes when the police came. He was given clothing but refused to be taken to a clinic or the hospital down the street.
    So all night two or three nights a week he would walk naked across the street.
    The police said, "We could arrest him but can't keep him. He has the right to refuse treatment."
    Sorry but to me he was clearly a danger to himself. I don't know if he survived after the ambulance took him to the ER.

    This article was just posted on line:
    http://www.usnews.com/usnews/blogs/n...ed_on_list.htm
  4. by   CHATSDALE
    there is so many homeless people out there who really need a save place to sleep and some food on a regular basis but most will refuse it because it is in the nature of adults to want to make thier own decisions even when those decisions are not in their best interests
    this sensless tragedy will probably not change any laws because similiar laws have been declared unconstitional
  5. by   WandaWilkins
    Unfortunately this is the price we pay to have the freedoms that we have in the US of America. Does anyone remember in the 1960's when husbands were allowed to commit their wives to mental hospitals? Many women were committed instead of divorced.
  6. by   smartynurse
    Quote from WandaWilkins
    Unfortunately this is the price we pay to have the freedoms that we have in the US of America. Does anyone remember in the 1960's when husbands were allowed to commit their wives to mental hospitals? Many women were committed instead of divorced.

    I am not so sure this could NOT have been prevented. It will be interesting to see exactly how this ends up. Questions: once Cho was sent to mental health facility and subsequently released, was he followed by university officials? Was there any tie in by the officials when he was removed from the classroom? Why was he allowed to stay when he set something on fire (in dorm) and stalked two women? Doesn't the university have some parameters in place? Also, were the parents ever notified? If a kid displays such serious behavior problems, and refuses participation in classes, could they have suspended him? Hopefully with the task force by Gov.Kaine, we will have some honest inquiry and answers to this tragedy.
  7. by   Crux1024
    Quote from WandaWilkins
    Unfortunately this is the price we pay to have the freedoms that we have in the US of America. Does anyone remember in the 1960's when husbands were allowed to commit their wives to mental hospitals? Many women were committed instead of divorced.

    Wow! Glad Im not old enough to remember that....:trout:
  8. by   wan2banrseNms
    Did anyone see on the news that he had voluntarily committed himself to a mental institution and was released. Why was he able to puchase a gun??? Why didn't that info come up when he purchased the guns? The courts in virginia didn't make this info available. I don't think that would have prevented the massacre but the legal system failed in this situation.
    Last edit by wan2banrseNms on Apr 18, '07
  9. by   pickledpepperRN
    ...Martha Mitchell was the wife of John Mitchell, Attorney-General in the Nixon administration. When she alleged that White House officials were engaged in illegal activities, her claims were attributed to mental illness. Ultimately, however, the relevant facts of the Watergate scandal vindicated her....

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martha_Mitchell_effect

    By Helen Thomas, I remember reading this. It is hard to believe these crooks that ran our country were such dishonest cruel men. - http://www.maebrussell.com/Watergate...%20Thomas.html
  10. by   Quickbeam
    When I was in college in the 1970's (non-nursing career), I was an RA for 3 years and a Hall Director for one. We got hundreds of hours in training about student mental health, identifying people in trouble and linking them with the mental health services on and off campus. We were taught how to recognize someone with an eating disorder, undisclosed pregnancy, depression, schizophrenia and mental health conditions likely to interfere with college life.

    We were probably more intrusive than the laws allow today. The Virginia Tech killer? Would have been a screaming red flag. He'd have been offered inpatient care as an alternative to dismissal from the university. He'd not have been allowed to continue as is.

    I do know that health services have been severely cut on universities throughout the US over the years since I left and I think that's a horrible shame.
  11. by   noggin_wise
    Helen Thomas? No there's a real nonpartisan for ya. She is the biggest left wing hack of them all.



    Quote from spacenurse
    ...Martha Mitchell was the wife of John Mitchell, Attorney-General in the Nixon administration. When she alleged that White House officials were engaged in illegal activities, her claims were attributed to mental illness. Ultimately, however, the relevant facts of the Watergate scandal vindicated her....

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martha_Mitchell_effect

    By Helen Thomas, I remember reading this. It is hard to believe these crooks that ran our country were such dishonest cruel men. - http://www.maebrussell.com/Watergate...%20Thomas.html
  12. by   smartynurse
    Quote from wan2banrseNms
    Did anyone see on the news that he had voluntarily committed himself to a mental institution and was released. Why was he able to puchase a gun??? Why didn't that info come up when he purchased the guns? The courts in virginia didn't make this info available. I don't think that would have prevented the massacre but the legal system failed in this situation.
    They didn't fail, because you or I could voluntary commit ourselves to an inpt. psych unit for depression at a low point in our lives. If the law did as you say it should, we then would not be able to buy any gun for ever.
    Also, the mental health community is very vocal about privacy laws for this very reason. This is not to refute the fact that this is a very unfortunate outcome.
  13. by   smartynurse
    Quote from Quickbeam
    When I was in college in the 1970's (non-nursing career), I was an RA for 3 years and a Hall Director for one. We got hundreds of hours in training about student mental health, identifying people in trouble and linking them with the mental health services on and off campus. We were taught how to recognize someone with an eating disorder, undisclosed pregnancy, depression, schizophrenia and mental health conditions likely to interfere with college life.

    We were probably more intrusive than the laws allow today. The Virginia Tech killer? Would have been a screaming red flag. He'd have been offered inpatient care as an alternative to dismissal from the university. He'd not have been allowed to continue as is.

    I do know that health services have been severely cut on universities throughout the US over the years since I left and I think that's a horrible shame.
    I agree, that mental health issues in particular are still not addressed well here in the U.S. But I wonder if they are addressed well in other countries and cultures around the world. We are a pretty open society, all considering.
    Your personal story, and how things were more intrusive back then, reminds me of the movie "one flew over the cuckoo's nest"...Hollywood bashing the intrusiveness of mental health institutions and individual rights...Now I'm sure they will complain that they are not intrusive enough!
    But I just think that their was a lack of connectedness w/in the university...again, I am really interested in how the university handled Cho after his stay in the health facility, did they follow him, or did he refuse tx.
  14. by   wan2banrseNms
    Maybe what I should have pointed out was that the courts had deemed him a danger to himself in Dec. 2005. The thing that I didn't understand is that information should have popped up when he tried to purchase a gun. I am not saying that a person who had voluntarily committed themselves at a low point in life not be able ot purchase a gun. The privacy laws ARE in place for a reason, but when it goes through the court in Virginia there is a frame of time that a gun can't be purchased.

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