Yes, better mental healthcare is the key to preventing mass gun violence. When an individual uses a gun to unleash violence and death upon mass crowds of people, there is always some element of mental illness involved. If families can recognize signs of mental illness sooner and get quality help for their loved ones, tragedy can be prevented.
The main key factor that almost all of these mass shooters have in common is that they have some sort of mental health disorder that was not diagnosed or that was diagnosed and was not being properly treated. We need to have better detection, cheaper and more available treatment, and other services to facilitate the mental health of our country.
Better mental health care is the key to preventing mass gun violence. This would not put an end to the violence but I think that if they had someone to reach out to about their problems then this would only help. We could not force everyone to seek treatment but it might stop a few of them.
Everyone always talks about guns like they're the only problem, but the real problem has a lot to do with two things - mental healthcare, as the question states, which goes tremendously and sadly ignored until it's too late, making the idea of receiving mental health treatment or being diagnosed with an issue is a stigma; the other is the way society functions and allows actions like this to occur.
Without a doubt, better mental healthcare would prevent mass gun violence in the United States. Well, it would be smarter to say that it would reduce the indicence of these violent rampages. Better healthcare would target potential shooters and help them deal with their issues rather than having a violent outburst.
Let's make this clear off the start: controlling guns more strictly would prevent mass gun violence. The "criminals don't care about the law" argument is stupid, not everybody knows how to get a gun illegally, everybody knows how to get one legally. We need to regulate guns much more strictly. Period.
That said, yes, mental health IS a big issue here, and the way we demonize it is a problem. We'd have fewer of these incidents if we as a society let people feel not ashamed for needing to talk to somebody about their problems, it's okay if your head isn't on right. Talk to somebody. You are not beyond repair.
A gun is a mere tool, and doesn't get out of a locked gun closet, go into a crowd and start shooting by itself. Homicidal maniacs can and do use other tools to kill - fertilizer bombs, knives, clubs, etc. if they cannot get a gun. The best way to reduce gun violence, and other problems like homelessness, is to deal with the mentally ill in a better way that recognizes they are not always capable of making sound decisions for themselves.
People with mental illness kill themselves and others everyday. A gun is nothing more than a tool. It's the INTENT that controls the action. The mother who was killed was pretty much on her own when it came time to take care of her mentally ill son. Unfortunately, she taught him how to use her guns, and it turned out tragically for all. If she had been able to find him the support and care he needed, whether is would have been outside the home or in, perhaps he wouldn't have done what he did. We couldn't get enough help for my uncle, and he died along the side of a road.
The major problem with the debate over guns and gun violence in this country is the refusal of many people to acknowledge the fact that the problem is multifaceted. Our country's entire healthcare system, including its mental health aspect, are woefully behind other industrialized countries. We should focus on this while at the same time enacting stringent gun control, so that those who would kill cannot kill in such huge numbers when they finally snap.
Providing better mental healthcare is an interesting way to try and tackle gun violence, but I believe it is the wrong thing to do. I just do not see it solving anything. What we need to do is tighten gun control laws in this country. Limiting access to guns is the best way to decrease gun violence.