REFLECTIONS

Posted on October 13, 2013

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MENTAL ILLNESS BLAMED FOR VIOLENCE

Keeping pace with incidents of random violence has become a full-time job.

In the last month alone, Aaron Alexis shot up the Washington Navy Yard before being killed; Julius Graham stabbed five innocent people in Manhattan’s Riverside Park; and Marian Carey used her car as a weapon to storm the White House, dying in an ensuing police chase.

It makes sense that many are looking for a cure to this problem  for our nation. Having found gun control a non-starter; politicians and others have turned to mental illness as a default cause of violence.

This despite the fact that according to the National Institutes of Health study, fewer than 16 percent of mental patients will commit a violent act in their lifetimes. Even some experts assert that mental health reform is our panacea.

In all three aforementioned cases, contact with the mental health system failed to provide society with any useful warnings. Why is this?

The problem is that over decades mental; hospitals were emptied. The chronically mentally ill took up residence in communities, in group homes and on the streets.

No one foresaw the results from the underfunding or closures of community mental health centers. The only thought was finding ways to cut budgets and save money.

Such tings as confidentially laws and civil liberties of our mentally ill brethren deserve and need has bought about less institutional housing. However, the mentally ill are sick people and they heed help.

By all means, let’s continue to find ways to reform our mental health system and to provide proper care for the mentally ill. It is sorely needed.

This means our state government needs to spend more money on mental health.

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