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1 Skip Intro  Sat, Dec 15, 2012 10:15:38am
In the Wake of Another Mass Shooting, Let’s Talk About America’s Dangerously Gutted Mental Healthcare System

Yeah, right. "Let's gut it some more" would be the GOP response, and most GOP state governors will be cheerfully doing it anyway.

2 Romantic Heretic  Sat, Dec 15, 2012 10:23:25am

The basic problem is that mental illness is not regarded as illness by a large portion of the population. It is regarded as mental weakness. It is thought that if the sufferer just 'grew a spine' or 'toughened up' they wouldn't hear voices, or feel utter despair or think that the government (run by the Illuminati) is out to get them. And as my last example shows some forms of mental illness are regarded as good and true by many people.

Even people who think otherwise (like myself) and suffer from mental illness (like myself) often believe emotionally that they are weak, and so will not admit to themselves or others that they are ill, like I did. It took me trying to take my own life and just, barely, failing before I sought out the help I needed.

I've come up with two metaphors, based on my experience, that might help people understand.

Mental illness is a lot like diabetes. Both genetics and environment play roles in its occurrence. And like diabetes it cannot be cured, but it can be controlled. Medication and carefully planned exposure to the environment can keep a person from suffering too much from their illness.

The other metaphor is cancer. Like cancer mental illness is never cured. It only goes into remission. You live every day with the fear it may return, and you may not survive the next occurrence.

But only until mental illness is recognized as illness and not weakness by an overwhelming majority will things change. This change will have to be at an emotional level and not just a intellectual one. Belief tends to override knowledge.

3 Destro  Sat, Dec 15, 2012 10:31:53am

re: #1 Skip Intro

re: #2 Romantic Heretic

The basic problem is that mental illness is not regarded as illness by a large portion of the population. It is regarded as mental weakness. It is thought that if the sufferer just 'grew a spine' or 'toughened up' they wouldn't hear voices, or feel utter despair or think that the government (run by the Illuminati) is out to get them. And as my last example shows some forms of mental illness are regarded as good and true by many people.

Thank you for that observation. I was listening to the radio and the right wing nuts on it (Michael Savage) and pretty much they blame psychiatry for mental illness, which to me is like blaming the climatologists for the weather. I don't know if it is because people on the right hate science or if their brand of religion hates science or psychiatry.

4 Holidays are Family Fun Time  Sat, Dec 15, 2012 11:18:45am

re: #3 Destro

re: #2 Romantic Heretic

The basic problem is that mental illness is not regarded as illness by a large portion of the population. It is regarded as mental weakness. It is thought that if the sufferer just 'grew a spine' or 'toughened up' they wouldn't hear voices, or feel utter despair or think that the government (run by the Illuminati) is out to get them. And as my last example shows some forms of mental illness are regarded as good and true by many people.

Thank you for that observation. I was listening to the radio and the right wing nuts on it (Michael Savage) and pretty much they blame psychiatry for mental illness, which to me is like blaming the climatologists for the weather. I don't know if it is because people on the right hate science or if their brand of religion hates science or psychiatry.

Such people are afraid of what they might see if they actually look at themselves in an honest way. So, they blame the messenger.

I think they are cowards.

If I can do it, they can.

5 Destro  Sat, Dec 15, 2012 11:47:11am

re: #4 Holidays are Family Fun Time

Such people are afraid of what they might see if they actually look at themselves in an honest way. So, they blame the messenger.

I think they are cowards.

If I can do it, they can.

The level of hate directed at psychiatry was on Scientology levels on the Michael Savage radio show.

In this country if we find out someone like a politician is in therapy he would lose an election. Therapy should be seen the way we see going to the dentist with no detriment to a person's reputation. In fact if we know someone does not go to the dentist we think something is wrong with them in an icky way.

6 Charles Johnson  Sat, Dec 15, 2012 12:04:05pm

According to every study I've seen, mental illness is usually not a factor in mass shooting incidents.

It's a mistake to assume that people who commit these kinds of horrific crimes must be mentally ill.

7 Holidays are Family Fun Time  Sat, Dec 15, 2012 12:56:42pm

re: #6 Charles Johnson

According to every study I've seen, mental illness is usually not a factor in mass shooting incidents.

It's a mistake to assume that people who commit these kinds of horrific crimes must be mentally ill.

While I agree the generalization is wrong, I"ve recently learned this:

According to the wiki on school shooting:

Another reported similarity is that most of the perpetrators had been taking antidepressant drugs,[9][10][11] which have a documented history of producing violence and aggression as a side effect.[12][13]

And then this there is this nice piece of pseudo-science:

Gun control? We need medication control! Newton elementary school shooter Adam Lanza likely on meds; labeled as having 'personality disorder'

From the wiki on Fort Hood:

Brian Levin of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism wrote that the case sits at the crossroads of crime, terrorism and mental distress.[100] He compared the possible role of religion to the beliefs of Scott Roeder, a Christian who murdered Dr. George Tiller, who practiced abortion. Such offenders "often self-radicalize from a volatile mix of personal distress, psychological issues, and an ideology that can be sculpted to justify and explain their anti-social leanings."[100]

"mental distress" was also a used in the article, which might not qualify as "mental illnesss' per se, it indicates the person is not well.

the wiki articles being the easiest to find for this post and can be taken as all wiki articles. I don't have time check-out the reference links. I'm being pulled into so many topic areas right now, my head is spinning.

I'd love to read your research for comparison as I always want to make-up my own mind with as much accurate info as I can get.

8 Renaissance_Man  Sat, Dec 15, 2012 9:11:42pm

Hey, here's an idea. Let's not.

Because the US is by no means the only nation where mental illness is poorly treated. In fact, it's fair to say that at no point in human history has mental illness ever been well treated. But the US is definitely first among nations in giving their mentally ill lots of guns. And also the mentally healthy lots of guns. And ensuring that, healthy or sick, they have all the firearms they need to kill their fellow citizens.

I guess we could fantasise that America can keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill by magically making them not ill, even if the vast majority of firearms used in massacres are already acquired legally by people who presumably don't flag as mentally ill because they're acquiring guns legally. It makes about as much sense as the persistent fantasy of ordinary civilians somehow engaging in gun battles in the streets, and that old chestnut is a perennial favourite.

Unless the plan is to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill by defining all Americans as mentally ill. Which is understandable, given the cultlike fetishisation of guns and the insistence on repeating the same pattern again, and again, and again, and expecting different results.

9 The Ghost of a Flea  Sun, Dec 16, 2012 8:52:14am

re: #6 Charles Johnson

According to every study I've seen, mental illness is usually not a factor in mass shooting incidents.

It's a mistake to assume that people who commit these kinds of horrific crimes must be mentally ill.

The problem in discussing mass shooters is that "mentally ill" is a hand wave unless real attempts are made to study the specifics.

There are lots of people with mental illness in the US that aren't violent at all. There are a subset who exhibit violent behavior, but it's not organized or premeditated. And there's intersectional issues like whether it's really the mental illness itself that causes violent behavior versus some other correlation relationship (for example: mentally ill people are more likely to be physically abused; abused people often cope with anger issues that can manifest as aggression).

And, frankly, there's the awkward discussion that has to be had about how mass shooters are not evenly distributed through society, or in the same distribution as mental illness of any particular variety. Mental illness does not manifest in a vaccuum, nor exist as a thing unto-itself. Both mood and delusional disorders are colored by environment and socialization.


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