Can changes in the American mental health system reduce gun violence?

  • Mental imbalance often triggers violence.

    People with a illness, whether diagnosed or "undiagnosed" should be getting some kind of professional help. It can be counseling or maybe even medicine. We take children with intellectual deficiencies and mainstream them in public schools. Some are teased and bullied. Then later, they let them out in unfortunate and sometimes fatal ways. The families of theses individuals need to come forward and recognize the warning signs. We see advertising for the warning signs of a heart attack, breast cancer, etc. Maybe we should run a campaign on the warning signs of mental illness. It has to start in the home. It has to be supported by the community; after all, aren't they the ones who get left cleaning up the mess physically and emotionally?

  • Yes--changes in mental health policies are vital to reducing gun violence.

    The debate about gun control has ignored the mental health aspect far too much. Perhaps it is because liberals, the traditional champions of progressive healthcare policies, fear losing the guns-are-dangerous grounds by focusing on the shooter, not the weapon. But the truth remains that it is much harder to get treatment for mental health problems in American than it should be. The aftermath of Sandy Hook showed us that there are hundreds of families across America who are afraid of their children, who want to get them help but have no options in today's systems. The killer behind the Virginia Tech massacre is a prime example of the mental health system's failure. Granted, providing better, more available resources for troubled youth will not weed out all the mass killers--but it is a step to creating an overall healthier culture where troubled individuals are not barred but encouraged to get the help they need.

  • Yes, I actually think this is the real answer

    Mental health is a major issue in the United States. It seems that most of the major gun violence issues could be taken care of by taking a bigger interest in the mental health of those who cause these issues. If we had resources for these people, maybe we can stop the problems before they start.

  • Safety and Mental Health

    It's completely irresponsible to conflate violence with "mental illness." The research is clear that people with psychiatric diagnoses are not more violent than the general population, and in fact are far more likely to be the victims of violence. Mental health professionals are not experts at predicting violence. While I appalled efforts to regulate weapons and stop gun violence, this rush to falsely characterize violence as a mental health issue is wrong-headed and dangerous. The misguided mental health provisions in NY's recent gun legislation and the ideas on mental health put forth by the Obama administration will not make us safer, but will seriously impinge the lives and rights of people with psychiatric labels.

  • Yes, mental health care can dramatically reduce gun violence

    Mental health care is very much ignored in the United States, and as a consequence, many dangerously ill individuals go untreated. One of the best demonstration of this is in war veterans, who, after committing a crime, explain their mental state and their fruitless attempts to get help leading up to the incident. In these interviews, psychologists see the opportunities to help someone in an unstable mental state if the person can be identified and treated in time.

  • Too hard to ignore anymore

    Heinous mass shooting and begets wide spread media coverage, and public debate on gun control. However, this same coverage often only footnotes (at best) that the perpetrators are battling mental illness issues. Most these high profile mass shooting events were committed by those with a history of or on prescriptions for mental illness. Guns don't shoot themselves. While gun control may or may not help reduce violence, if we don't do something to address the issues with the people shooting the guns, we are only rearranging deck chairs on the titanic.

  • Not A Significant Source of Violence

    Mentally ill people are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators. Better access to mental health services especially for people who can't afford it is a good idea for other reasons. But it's not going to make a significant dent in gun violence. A more vigorous research policy should also be enforced for psychiatric drugs and other drugs. In many cases of violence the person is on these drugs. Requiring brain scan evidence for prescriptions would go a long way here. If the person's brain scan doesn't look like what you'd expect for the disorder then even if the symptoms are relatively the same you are dealing with something that is unlikely to respond to the medication.

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