mental health crisis - what can we do?

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the other thread is a mix of dialogue on the tragic shootings and gun stuff. i wanted to start a separate thread to discuss what we can do as a nation about the mental health crisis we're obviously facing as a country.

regardless of what diagnosis a person has, whether they were born with it or developed it due to environment and/or parenting, etc there are a lot of mentally sick people out there. many are now turning their rage and anger on family members and innocent victims without fear of consequence. then they cowardly kill themselves.

what can we do??

my undergrad degree is in psychology and i remember one field trip to a remote place where kids that had gotten in trouble were being housed and schooled. hearing them tell why they ended up there was frightening, one kid was molesting his sister so he was sent away, even under 15 some had already committed murder. it seems we shy away from institutionalizing people now or maybe we do and it's not discussed but is that the answer? i think there were always mentally ill people but it seemed they didn't act out to harm others as much as what we've seen in the last 10-20 years.

medication alone obviously isn't the answer since we're probably more medicated now yet the degree of violence associated with mental illness is soaring.

is it coping skills that are lacking? are we not teaching people how to deal with stress and be resilient? can you teach people to have compassion? are we failing at doing that?

what are y'alls thoughts on this? if you had a mentally ill family member or child what steps would you take to get that person help and/or protect the other members in your home and society?
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the other thread is a mix of dialogue on the tragic shootings and gun stuff. i wanted to start a separate thread to discuss what we can do as a nation about the mental health crisis we're obviously facing as a country.

regardless of what diagnosis a person has, whether they were born with it or developed it due to environment and/or parenting, etc there are a lot of mentally sick people out there. many are now turning their rage and anger on family members and innocent victims without fear of consequence. then they cowardly kill themselves.

what can we do??

my undergrad degree is in psychology and i remember one field trip to a remote place where kids that had gotten in trouble were being housed and schooled. hearing them tell why they ended up there was frightening, one kid was molesting his sister so he was sent away, even under 15 some had already committed murder. it seems we shy away from institutionalizing people now or maybe we do and it's not discussed but is that the answer? i think there were always mentally ill people but it seemed they didn't act out to harm others as much as what we've seen in the last 10-20 years.

medication alone obviously isn't the answer since we're probably more medicated now yet the degree of violence associated with mental illness is soaring.

is it coping skills that are lacking? are we not teaching people how to deal with stress and be resilient? can you teach people to have compassion? are we failing at doing that?

what are y'alls thoughts on this? if you had a mentally ill family member or child what steps would you take to get that person help and/or protect the other members in your home and society?
Originally Posted by luvmylocs

In the 1980s, states' budgets were drastically cut for MH services and states had to shut down their mental hospitals and move to "community-based" MH care...which is really a joke.

So yes, there are lots more mentally ill people out and about, with access to far fewer services.

But at the same time, the stigma regarding MI is strong.

We need to fund MH services better and break down the social stigma that keeps ppl from accessing the services and keeps lawmakers from funding them.

Also parents need to get their heads out of their butts and parent. Some of the choices parents make contribute to their kids being emotionally unstable. And when they see it, they turn a blind eye bc they don't want to admit someone messed up.

It feels like there are no moral standards in some households anymore. Just let everyone do whatever and say it's OK so no one accuses anyone of not being openminded enough or stifling someon'e individuality...
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Last edited by spiderlashes5000; 12-17-2012 at 10:09 AM.
Not all people with mental illnesses are crazy and end up as killers. I have one (aspbergers) and I'm perfectly normal just a little quieter than usually. I am tired of people judging others based on their traits. Just because some people with Asberger's kills some people, doesn't mean all or the majority will. Just because some black people shoot or steal, doesn't mean all or the majority will. Just because some boys are players, doesn't mean all boys are. Just because someone is shy and sits in the back of the classroom doesn't mean he or she is plotting to kill someone. Those are all sterotypes and are just believed because they are highly publicized.

But to answer your question on what we can do, unless there is a way we can get people to be more respectful I don't think there is anything we can do. No words or medicine can cure depression. I'm not sure about the mind set of killers but they probrably kill to get revenge on someone who disrespected them. People with mental illnesses cope with things in different ways, not all are violent. I cope by talking to people. But just look everywhere: in person and online people are just so rude. Not all people though. I'm pretty sure others with mental illnesses go through tramatic events that can be pretty hard to cope with such as bullying, family issues, etc.
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Last edited by Astonied; 12-17-2012 at 10:26 AM. Reason: added more details
We need to fund MH services better and break down the social stigma that keeps ppl from accessing the services and keeps lawmakers from funding them.

Also parents need to get their heads out of their butts and parent. Some of the choices parents make contribute to their kids being emotionally unstable. And when they see it, they turn a blind eye bc they don't want to admit someone messed up.

It feels like there are no moral standards in some households anymore. Just let everyone do whatever and say it's OK so no one accuses anyone of not being openminded enough or stifling someon'e individuality...
Originally Posted by spiderlashes5000
^^^ This. I was taught that being nice matters, having compassion and empathy is important and to value human life. No matter what you teach your children, being a decent human being should be the foundation of it.

No, not all parents are to blame for their mentally ill children. But treatment has to start at home and if that isn't effective you have got to have the guts to get help and not live in denial or shame. Societal views influence that unfortunately.
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People need earlier intervention. It's hard to get an adult to seek help and unfortunately some MI don't manifest until early adulthood.

There is also a terrible stigma associated with MI, we need to address it openly like any other disease, ie, heart disease, diabetes.

In FL, you cannot intervene until the person threatens to harm themselves or others. By that time, the person is in full blown paranoia.
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my original post wasn't about promoting stereotypes or judging groups of people that have mental illness. it really was from the perspective of laying out a problem that seems to be getting worse and asking folks to offer up opinions on how we might turn things around. really no different than when they say obesity is an epidemic that needs to be addressed and there's a call to action.
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Why do we seem to have more people diagnosed with mental illnesses? What has happened to cause this increase? Not all mentally ill people are violent but why do there appear to be more violently mentally ill people?

Are people like this gunman really mentally ill or just evil? Why do people who do things like this get labelled with an illness? Maybe they are just a 'bad egg' and evil?
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I'm in Florida , and although my brother (6 years younger) was always a bit off. Getting in trouble with the law, Underage drinking. Went to jail., it wasn't until he was about 25 when he basically just flipped the eff out. Talking to himself. Rapidly. He spoke to people in rhymes . Then he would just weep.

Intervention was the key. My parents thought it was a bad trip. I don't know how I knew, but I told them I thought it was bi polar disorder. They were still in denial. I'm not sure how long it took, maybe two months, but I finally called a facility and told them we where coming. And then I called my parents and told them I was on my way.

My brother wasn't showing any signs of violence, so fortunately we convinced him to go.

It's been 7 years. He's on meds and doesn't have anymore epiosodes. I don't think he will ever be ok. He still have social anxiety. And because he spent many of his teen years in juvie , boot camps etc and has very little education, he has no real life skills. He is almost stuck adolescence .
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I'm not sure I agree with the developing consensus that the Connecticut shootings had much to do with mental illness. The jury's still out on that - there's not enough information.

I personally think that whenever these things happen (Colorado movie theatre, etc.) the media labels the killer as "mentally ill" because everyone is so desperate for an explanation. Interestingly, when someone who is an Other does something (9/11 terrorists, Black gangbangers shooting up somewhere) no one calls them mentally ill - they're just evil or bad or enemies. But white men committing mass murder in public aka terrorism? Must be mentally ill. And that just stigmatizes people who actually are. But that's my opinion.

In terms of mental health issues, I think medication compliance is a huge issue and it is so difficult to deal with. I'm facing this now with several clients. How do you respect someone's autonomy and dignity but also act in their true best interests? Do we need better meds or better supports for people on them, or what?
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Why do we seem to have more people diagnosed with mental illnesses? What has happened to cause this increase? Not all mentally ill people are violent but why do there appear to be more violently mentally ill people?

Are people like this gunman really mentally ill or just evil? Why do people who do things like this get labelled with an illness? Maybe they are just a 'bad egg' and evil?
Originally Posted by curlylaura
The criteria for diagnosing certain disorders has changed over the last 20 or 30 years so some disturbed people are now classified as mentally ill when back then they wouldn't have been.

Also while I do agree that funding needs to be increased, I also think the care in and of itself needs improvement. I was in and out of therapy for 12 years and had limited success because all of my issues weren't adequately addressed. It wasn't until I left therapy that I made a concerted effort to makes some of the changes I want to make. Some professionals think pills are all that's needed but not everyone needs them.



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I agree we need to work to eliminate the stigma. I also don't think it would be a bad idea to include classes on mental health in HS curricula...how to relieve stress in a constructive manner, when to ask for help, what are "normal" feelings/behaviors, what to do if you or a friend is having problems. It wouldn't completely fix the problem, but it could help some kids. Our JH school had a psychologist on staff, but she was only there if you sought her out. I think schools need to be more proactive and reach out to the kids.

Hopefully, that would help to address many problems before they escalate out of control. Some MH conditions don't really manifest themselves until the late teens/early 20s (schizophrenia). And so many of the people who go off like Adam Lanza, James Holmes, etc. are in the same age group.
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Last edited by The New Black; 12-17-2012 at 03:22 PM.
I'm in Florida , and although my brother (6 years younger) was always a bit off. Getting in trouble with the law, Underage drinking. Went to jail., it wasn't until he was about 25 when he basically just flipped the eff out. Talking to himself. Rapidly. He spoke to people in rhymes . Then he would just weep.

Intervention was the key. My parents thought it was a bad trip. I don't know how I knew, but I told them I thought it was bi polar disorder. They were still in denial. I'm not sure how long it took, maybe two months, but I finally called a facility and told them we where coming. And then I called my parents and told them I was on my way.

My brother wasn't showing any signs of violence, so fortunately we convinced him to go.

It's been 7 years. He's on meds and doesn't have anymore epiosodes. I don't think he will ever be ok. He still have social anxiety. And because he spent many of his teen years in juvie , boot camps etc and has very little education, he has no real life skills. He is almost stuck adolescence .
Originally Posted by Trenell


that's my dad's sister. She snapped around 18, was arressted many times for it, in fact my family would be pretty wealthy now but my grandfather sold a whole bunch of land so he could pay for her to get help and not go to jail. I don't remember much of her episodes but I do remember being little ( we lived with my grandparents when I was really little when my parents first moved to the US and she lived there too full house) she had an episode and my mom had to talk her down she was threatening to throw a chair at my grandma, my mom had to wrestle it from her. IT WAS SCARY. I wasn't supposed to be in the room but I was a little spy.
My mom mentioned her the other day, she even said it, if my aunt would of had a gun back then she probably would of killed people.



She now lives in a housing place with other people who can't live on their own. She hasn't had an episode in years.

which is why I didn't want to tell my mom I felt depressed for the longest because I knew she would freak out, she took me to the doctor immediately lol.
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Are people like this gunman really mentally ill or just evil? Why do people who do things like this get labelled with an illness? Maybe they are just a 'bad egg' and evil?
Originally Posted by curlylaura
I don't believe in evil. I think all violence stems from dysfunction and illness. Yes, even war. That is societal-level dysfunction and illness.
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I agree we need to work to eliminate the stigma. I also don't think it would be a bad idea to include classes on mental health in HS curricula...how to relieve stress in a constructive manner, when to ask for help, what are "normal" feelings/behaviors, what to do if you or a friend is having problems. It wouldn't completely fix the problem, but it could help some kids. Our JH school had a psychologist on staff, but she was only there if you sought her out. I think schools need to be more proactive and reach out to the kids.

Hopefully, that would help to address many problems before they escalate out of control. Some MH conditions don't really manifest themselves until the late teens/early 20s (schizophrenia). And so many of the people who go off like Ryan Lanza, James Holmes, etc. are in the same age group.
Originally Posted by The New Black

This is a good point. There isn't much going on in the way of preventative mental healthcare.

There are big, widely-promoted public health campaigns. And there are now a few big ones related to drinking and drug use. But nothing on that level for mental health.

Our psyches are a huge art of who we are!! Why isn't anyone trying to keep them healthy?
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regardless of what diagnosis a person has, whether they were born with it or developed it due to environment and/or parenting, etc there are a lot of mentally sick people out there. many are now turning their rage and anger on family members and innocent victims without fear of consequence. then they cowardly kill themselves.

what can we do??
Originally Posted by luvmylocs
There is nothing to do. Everyone has the propensity

to be a ticking timebomb ready to explode, the

mentally ill just have to pleasure of having a ready

attached stigma the world is waiting to stigmatize.

Poor economy, lack of family values, pressures to

keep up with material mores yet lack of education

which makes 'comeuppance' more impossible as the

economy becomes poorer... [ a cycle just like the

latter and aforementioned use of the phrase 'poor

economy']

unfortunately such actions that are recent new

stories are just a sign of the times.

Forget the mental illness title and just focus on how

the world as a whole needs to really evaluate what

is important.

And as far as a response to the above paragraph, I

have no idea.

I look forward to hearing other responses.
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I'm not sure I agree with the developing consensus that the Connecticut shootings had much to do with mental illness. The jury's still out on that - there's not enough information.

I personally think that whenever these things happen (Colorado movie theatre, etc.) the media labels the killer as "mentally ill" because everyone is so desperate for an explanation. Interestingly, when someone who is an Other does something (9/11 terrorists, Black gangbangers shooting up somewhere) no one calls them mentally ill - they're just evil or bad or enemies. But white men committing mass murder in public aka terrorism? Must be mentally ill. And that just stigmatizes people who actually are. But that's my opinion.

In terms of mental health issues, I think medication compliance is a huge issue and it is so difficult to deal with. I'm facing this now with several clients. How do you respect someone's autonomy and dignity but also act in their true best interests? Do we need better meds or better supports for people on them, or what?
Originally Posted by Amneris
I agree with you, Amneris, about there not being enough info on the Connecticut shootings. I'm still waiting for more to unfold behind the whole incident. It sounds like something was very wrong with him, though...no doubt about it.

I also think you make a very valid point about how the media/society views crimes committed by whites as opposed to people of color. There is definitely a disparity. If I can name one Black murderer who was found to be mentally ill, though, it would be the DC sniper John Williams aka Muhammad. He was found to have had PTSD and possibly paranoid schizophrenia...his ex-wife was terrified of him before he went on the killing spree. I believe his mental issues stemmed from traumatic experiences in the military. With most of the white dudes, I don't know. But with the Columbine shooters, I think it was mental illness coupled with anger at everyone around them and a fascination with violence. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were both on medication. Eric, in particular, was rejected from applying to the Marines because he was on Luvox, a powerful psychiatric drug.

And I can't agree more about the stigmatization of people with mental illness. I've suffered from severe depression most of my life and mental illness runs in my family, esp. on my father's side. It is difficult to open up about being depressed or having any type of mental/emotional issues because most people aren't sympathetic and they're inclined to either ridicule or shun a person with these problems.


And you're right...it doesn't help when somebody who may or may not be mentally ill does evil things. Ignorance and fear promotes stereotypes.

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Are people like this gunman really mentally ill or just evil? Why do people who do things like this get labelled with an illness? Maybe they are just a 'bad egg' and evil?
Originally Posted by curlylaura
I don't believe in evil. I think all violence stems from dysfunction and illness. Yes, even war. That is societal-level dysfunction and illness.
Originally Posted by wild~hair
Do you believe people are inherently 'good'? I agree with dysfunction but not necessarily 'illness'.

Some people are just 'bad eggs'.
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regardless of what diagnosis a person has, whether they were born with it or developed it due to environment and/or parenting, etc there are a lot of mentally sick people out there. many are now turning their rage and anger on family members and innocent victims without fear of consequence. then they cowardly kill themselves.

what can we do??
Originally Posted by luvmylocs
There is nothing to do. Everyone has the propensity

to be a ticking timebomb ready to explode, the

mentally ill just have to pleasure of having a ready

attached stigma the world is waiting to stigmatize.

Poor economy, lack of family values, pressures to

keep up with material mores yet lack of education

which makes 'comeuppance' more impossible as the

economy becomes poorer... [ a cycle just like the

latter and aforementioned use of the phrase 'poor

economy']

unfortunately such actions that are recent new

stories are just a sign of the times.

Forget the mental illness title and just focus on how

the world as a whole needs to really evaluate what

is important.

And as far as a response to the above paragraph, I

have no idea.

I look forward to hearing other responses.
Originally Posted by hairhealth
Amen! So true...there have always been problems in society/the world, and it will only continue as time goes on.
Oh and we can also greatly increase funding for mental health services. If you have insurance, you might get treatment at a fairly nice center. If not, well, some state run facilities are a bit frightening especially if you are already paranoid!

Obamacare improves insurance coverage rules but for those without insurance, it's very tough.
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The more I think of it, the more I think this mental health discussion (in general, not just on here) is a smokescreen. If we focus on identifying mentally ill people and restricting their access to weapons, we don't have to worry about the rest of the population, and their access to weapons, or anything in society or culture that could be creating killers. And we can stigmatize the mentally ill and leave weapons owners seeming normal.
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