Sen. Al Franken: What a real conversation about mental health looks like

Here is an article I found that talks about mental health in a positive way and also talks about how mental health is used to confuse us about gun laws.  In this article, Sen. Franken makes the statement that the mentally ill are more likely to be the victims of gun violence than the perpetrators.  I agree with this statement completely.  As one who has spent over 20 years working with the mentally ill, I know that they are the ones at risk in any scenario where gun violence is present.

There will always be the few outliers–those who commit heinous acts of violence and are mentally ill, but I believe they are the minority.  It just seems like they are not because they are the ones getting time on national television and front page coverage in the papers. If every perpetrator of gun violence was on the news, we would never see anything else.  We would never read about anything else in the papers.

Please click over to read this article in its entirety.  It is worth the time spent and may get you thinking about how you can help with this problem.


 

Sen. Al Franken: What a real conversation about mental health looks like

Posted: Saturday, October 24, 2015 6:15 am |Updated: 6:15 am, Sat Oct 24, 2015.

As has happened far too often in recent years, this month’s mass shooting at an Oregon community college has prompted yet another “national conversation about mental health.” And mental health reform should indeed be a priority.

Unfortunately, this conversation often is intended as a substitute for a conversation about gun safety, an effort on the part of a cynical few to distract us from the fact that a vocal minority is blocking common-sense (and widely popular) measures, such as improving our background check system.

This bait-and-switch act doesn’t help to avoid future incidents like the one in Oregon. If we want to address the gun violence epidemic, we have to focus on getting dangerous weapons out of the wrong hands. In fact, using mental health as a scapegoat at moments like this can be downright counter-productive if we make the mistake of stigmatizing mental illness and, potentially, discouraging people from seeking help out of concern that a diagnosis of mental illness will represent a red flag on their record.

Yes, for the small minority of those suffering from mental illness who might be susceptible to becoming violent, better detection and treatment can dramatically reduce that risk…(read more)

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