Streams

Mental Health Care

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

As the Senate prepares to vote on gun control, the effects of gun violence are still front and center in the public consciousness. Mac McClelland, Mother Jones human rights reporter, explores the issue from a different angle – that of how mental health policy and access to quality care might prevent these tragedies. Her article “Schizophrenic. Killer. My Cousin.,” in the May/June issue of Mother Jones, is about the deteriorating state of mental health care in this country, as seen through the prism of her own family.

Guests:

Mac McClelland

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Comments [23]

Jared from NYS

I'm sure that the guest is competent, but all I hear is her constant use of the phrase 'you know'.

Apr. 18 2013 12:21 PM
judith from New York City

So sick of the mentally ill being scapegoated for the violence in this country.

Apr. 18 2013 12:30 AM
Jim from in Manhattan

I'm getting around to this piece a little late. There is something deeply wrong with the fact that Sonoma County doesn't have a mental health hospital, but the county jail now has, according to the interviewee, excellent facilities. Perhaps there'd be less need on the inside if these facilities were on the outside.

Apr. 17 2013 04:16 PM
mary2rus13

There is a real link between physical & psychological violence and mental health. How many formerly abused children and adults suffer from mental health disabilities/liabilities? How many people have chemical imbalances that effect their cognitive processes (and that no contemporary blood test can reveal)so they behave in ways abhorrent to the common sensibilities? How many children are misdiagnosed and put on psycho-effective medication because their behaviors seem different from a local norm? I remember when the State "mental asylums" closed and sent thousands to the streets without adequate housing or healthcare support - in the name of savings or better health management? Violence occurs where there is misunderstanding and an inability to get others to understand or where power and control are held by(or withheld from) those who would use violence as an expedient means of expression

Apr. 17 2013 01:07 PM
Peter from Scarsdale, NY

Leonard asked why the mental health budget gets cut. There is a stigma to support mental health. How many people do you know ask for donations to support bipolar research? Who runs for a depression fundraiser? Plenty of people do so for breast cancer and other cancers. Yet, the number of people afflicted with bipolar, depression and schizophrenia is 10% of the population, which is twice the combined number of people with any type of cancer! 1 in 10 people (30 million people in the US) are afflicted with bipolar, depression and schizophrenia. This compares with 1 in 88 for autism. The stigma is one reason there is not support for mental health.

Leonard and Mac, thanks for discussing mental health today. Please do so more often.

Apr. 17 2013 12:53 PM

It is clear to me that here in the U.S. of A. the probability of murderous intent getting their hands on hardware that makes it easy to take lives is far too high. The only result can be more of these mass killings. The Conservatives' drive to cut community mental health services without taking steps to secure the amount of guns 'at large' is a prescription for more and more premature death.

It can't always happen to someone else...eventually it will be our turn to grieve from someone whose irresponsible exercise of their Second Amendment rights has cost innocent people their lives. If you own a gun, please make sure to store it safely.

Apr. 17 2013 12:50 PM
anonyme

There are also people who would argue that the degradation of our food supply/perversion of our environment also feeds into mental illness, though I understand from a doc that rates of schizophrenia are uniform in history and around the globe. (10%?)

Apr. 17 2013 12:47 PM
Mary Rainwater from new york

There is a bill winding it's way through congress that will help to ensure more medicaid funding for community mental health centers, bringing them more in line with the federally qualified health centers across the country:

The Excellence in Mental Health Act will enhance Medicaid funding for organizations, clinics, and health centers that offer community-based treatment and support for millions of low-income and vulnerable people with mental health and addiction disorders.

Important to increasing the health and well-being of our communities.

Also, let's be careful to not label all persons with serious mental illness as violent. It's just not true.

Apr. 17 2013 12:44 PM
Jon Pope from Ridge, NY

"francyne

people living with a troublesome mentally ill person who gets shot by the police are probably (secretly) relieved to be rid of the problem for good."

"Jf from Future where policy makes sense

All people who commit violent crimes are mentally ill."

Judging by your comments, I don't think either one of you has ever met a mentally ill person in your life.

Apr. 17 2013 12:43 PM
FRAN

Unlike gun owners, the mentally ill have no wealthy lobby to protect them. It will be an easy sell to shift the blame and burden from issues of gun control to those of control of the mentally ill. It will be far easier get legislation restricting the rights of the mentally ill than to restrict those of gun owners. Remember, there is a significant population in the United States of people who take psychotropic drugs to battle issues like depression and anxiety and attention deficit issues. How will we distinguish between the dangerous and not dangerous types of mental illness? Surely it's easier to distinguish between an automatic weapon and a hunting rifle. Let's not look to curbing and registering the mentally ill as a solution to the problem of violence in the U.S. We have to restrict and legislate gun ownership.

Apr. 17 2013 12:38 PM
The Truth from Becky

Sorry but this hold conversation makes me uncomfortable. I know that this is a real problem but all of a sudden the repbulicans are pushing it to the forefront to avoid the gun conversation.

If you're certified nuts, the diagnosing physician should be able to identify your stay in a facility, 6 months, year, 30 days whatever.

Apr. 17 2013 12:37 PM
Amy from Manhattan

The flip side of Anonymous's comment: Is money being made (say, by the prison-industrial complex) because people are being denied treatment until they commit a crime? Gov'ts. may be losing money by not funding prevention, but it may benefit entities w/a lot of lobbying power.

Apr. 17 2013 12:36 PM
matt goodheart from norway

I worked as a County Designated Mental Health Professional in Washington State for many years. My job (with an MSW background) was to evaluate mental health patients for involuntary detention. It is the best sytem I know of in the country. When psychiatric beds are not available, patients who are detained are held in ERs until psych bed opens up somewhere in the state. Not perfect but for 17 years I was always able to detain someone that was making clear threats to themselves or others or (third category) could clearly not care for themselves.

www.wadmhp.org

Apr. 17 2013 12:34 PM
matt goodheart from norway

I worked as a County Designated Mental Health Professional in Washington State for many years. My job (with an MSW background) was to evaluate mental health patients for involuntary detention. It is the best sytem I know of in the country. When psychiatric beds are not available, patients who are detained are held in ERs until psych bed opens up somewhere in the state. Not perfect but for 17 years I was always able to detain someone that was making clear threats to themselves or others or (third category) could clearly not care for themselves.

www.wadmhp.org

Apr. 17 2013 12:34 PM
brooklynmom78 from Park Slope, Brooklyn

I think that rather than point the finger at the mentally ill and further stigamatize them, we should examine data from other countries where they have high rates of gun ownership and low rates of gun related homicides. Could there be something cultural in our society that prompts people who would not otherwise be violent to go over the edge? Of course, increased awareness about mental health is a good thing! But it's only one part of the picture.

Apr. 17 2013 12:32 PM
francyne

people living with a troublesome mentally ill person who gets shot by the police are probably (secretly) relieved to be rid of the problem for good.

Apr. 17 2013 12:31 PM
Jf from Future where policy makes sense

All people who commit violent crimes are mentally ill. All police need to be psychologists, the politicians who get their funding from private prison corporations know this. This is for profit crimi.al justjce system. The opposite of what is good for society. Fostering dystopia.

Apr. 17 2013 12:30 PM
Anonymous from New York, New York

One of the difficulties in treating mental health is that it can be a long-term process, requiring talk therapy and, sometimes, medicine. The cost of this long-term care goes against the for-profit interests of companies that offer health insurance. I think part of the discussion about improving mental health services has to be the role of health insurance companies in structuring reimbursement for such care.

Apr. 17 2013 12:27 PM

Chilling and very sad. Not that it would have prevented this tragedy, but we need to talk about the issue of so many mentally ill being released from treatment hospitals because of state budgets.

Apr. 17 2013 12:21 PM
Wayne Johnson Ph.D. from Bk

In most states there is an extremely high bar for determining that someone is a danger to self or others; many say too high a bar.

Apr. 17 2013 12:20 PM
Marcus

Police? Unless you live in an large urban city.. then the police just shoot you dead.

Apr. 17 2013 12:19 PM
Jon Pope from Ridge, NY

Wow, 10% of all homicides are committed by the mentally ill.... Please ask why is it that everyone today seems to be blaming 100% homicides on the mentally ill as if we locked up all of the mentally ill or "fixed" all of the mentally ill, all our homicides and violent crimes would just magically go away?.... Seems like that would fix only 10% of a very serious homicide and violent crime problem we have right now....

Apr. 17 2013 12:16 PM
RJ from prospect hts

In his book about the Gabby Giffords' shooting, "A Safeway in Arizona," author Tom Zoellner goes into great depth about the mental health path of shooter Jared Loughner and the laws of the state of Arizona.

Apr. 17 2013 12:14 PM

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