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Mental Illness and Violence

Posted Jan 10 2011 4:04pm

After the terrible tragedies in Tucson, I imagine our representatives in Congress are increasingly concerned about their own safety. I wonder if this will give them strong enough backbones to stand up to the NRA and gun lobbly and insist on reinstating the assult weapon ban that was allowed to expire under Mr. Bush.  I also wonder if there will be any increased funding for mental health services?

Our mental health services are greatly inadequate not only in schools and colleges but in the community. At this point, insurance companies allow a patient just two visits with a psychiatrist.  How can someone like the Tucson shooter possibly be helped in just two sessions? Also in many facilities and even in university hospitals and HMOs, social workers are writing prescriptions for patients with mental health problems and expecting them to be signed by a psychiatrist. i know two psychiatrists who refused to sign these without seeing the patients and one doctor sued the big HMO and won his suit. I wonder if the new policy is still in place or after the doctor resigned did they go back to their old ways?

Rather than suspending or expelling a college student with mental health problems, there should be some follow-up by a doctor, a nurse, or a social worker. Just to send a disturbed individual out into the community is just plain wrong. I think the Tucson shooter's community college administration should bear some of the blame for what happened in Tucson. The Virginia Tech shooter also was known to have mental health problems and should have had some follow-up. Protecting their students should be an important job for all school and college administrators.




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