How can our mental health system be fixed?

With the recent shootings people are now talking more and more about how broken our mental health system is.

But the thing is I haven't heard a realistic plan yet on how to solve it. Do we throw more money at mental illness, do we punish psychiatrists who don't report their patients,or do we lock up every mentally ill person who has even the slightest violent thought?

What do you guys think?

I think that discussion is unnecessary, because mental disorders may play a role is some shootings, but the real cause is guns. You can't shoot someone with your bare hands, guns are the enabler in every single shooting. A mental disorder may provide the motive, but without the means, without guns, no shootings would ever occur.

Not to say that a lot can't be impoved about US mental healthcare, but that discussion bears no connection to the social upheaval about the latest string of spree shootings.

Considering how opposed conservatives/republicans are to healthcare, I don't think fixing the problems of US mental healthcare are currently within the scope of possibilities though. Maybe in the 15-20 years, if the direction in which US society moves are favourable.

There is a fear that by requiring mental health professionals to report people that have violent temptations we will set the system up to harm psychiatrists but in reality it would take a lot of effort to prove a psychiatrist knew there was a substantial threat from a person and didn't report them. I also would like to believe psychiatrists would actually prefer and opportunity to do something to keep their patients from harming themselves or others, right now they are next to power less unless the person explicitly gives a plan for harming people.

Another thing is how gun owners will avoid going to mental health institutions because they don't want to lose their guns... if you feel like you have a mental disorder I'd hope you'd be afraid of what you'd do with that gun if your seeking help.

Also I think we need the general public to be a bit more aware of these disorders to maybe help people they know suffering from these issues to get the help they need. There are always going to be those that fall through the cracks but it doesn't mean a few more people can't be helped.

shining the light on mental illness is just another form of "othering".

you only have to look at the desperate clamour to label anders breivik as "nuts".

We need to overhaul the stigma of the mental health industry. No one blinks about seeing a doctor before your abdominal pain turns into a burst appendix. But if you're feeling down, seeing a therapist to help you through it may as well be admitting to the general public that you need to sleep in a straight jacket. Getting society over their fear of therapy would be a nice start.

Blablahb:
I think that discussion is unnecessary, because mental disorders may play a role is some shootings, but the real cause is guns. You can't shoot someone with your bare hands, guns are the enabler in every single shooting. A mental disorder may provide the motive, but without the means, without guns, no shootings would ever occur.

Not to say that a lot can't be impoved about US mental healthcare, but that discussion bears no connection to the social upheaval about the latest string of spree shootings.

Considering how opposed conservatives/republicans are to healthcare, I don't think fixing the problems of US mental healthcare are currently within the scope of possibilities though. Maybe in the 15-20 years, if the direction in which US society moves are favourable.

So you're saying this thread is unnecessary because they're is another debate on something completely different going on in a completely different thread?

Sleekit:
shining the light on mental illness is just another form of "othering".

you only have to look at the desperate clamour to label anders breivik as "nuts".

I'm no quite sure what you mean by "othering".

Saucycarpdog:

Sleekit:
shining the light on mental illness is just another form of "othering".

you only have to look at the desperate clamour to label anders breivik as "nuts".

I'm no quite sure what you mean by "othering".

"there's "them" and there's "us".

"we are not like them."

"we wouldn't do the things they do."

"they are dangerous."

that's "othering".

the "mentally ill" are not any more statistically violent than any other group within society.

hardly any mental health diagnoses carry with them an increased propensity for violence (towards others*) above the norm.

indeed given many of them are on drugs that regulate how they emotionally respond to the world, are under some form of observational scrutiny, and tend to avoid everyday drugs many of us take for granted because they don't mix well with their condition and/or medication i wouldn't be surprised if they were, as a group, actually measurably less violent than the rest of the general population.

the crime figures certainly seem to reflect that.

in addition there is a huge percentage of modern Americans who are now "officially" mentally ill (60% or more i remember correctly) due to the fact they have been diagnosed with a mental health problem and/or take prescribed mental health medication for a mental health condition.

this line of application, much the same as taking aim at "gamers", is about ascribing "otherness" to seemingly distant subgroups in society to remove the very idea that they may be like us.

"i would never get angry and shoot someone."

"i'm not like that."

truth is most people are.

the vast majority of all murders are still due to a "lapse of reason" in an otherwise "normal" life committed by someone we know for interpersonal reasons.

and people really don't want to think about that.

i mean REALLY don't want to think about that.

in fact you would almost assuredly be "mentally ill" if you went through life thinking, either consciously or subconsciously, your family, friends, acquaintances and work colleagues were the most likely people to kill you.

that's not a normal state of being even if it does, statistically, reflect truth.

hence "othering" (in this subject and many others)

everyone has times in their life they wanna lash out.

one of the problems with guns is that they facilitate that possibly meaning death via "the push of a button" and from that point there's absolutely no way to claw your way back.

we are not perfectly rational beings (even when "sane") and "violent thoughts" are part of what we are whether we like it or not.

ultimately our aspirational rhetoric does not actually tally with where we are as a species.

we aim high, but we fall short and jails are full of people who made "big mistakes".

if you like have a read here on the real of "dangerousness" of mentally ill people :

http://www.mind.org.uk/mental_health_a-z/8017_dangerousness_and_mental_health_the_facts

* i'm excluding "self harm" here.

Saucycarpdog:
Not to say that a lot can't be impoved about US mental healthcare, but that discussion bears no connection to the social upheaval about the latest string of spree shootings.

Only if you meant it specifically in regards to how US mental healthcare can be changed to prevent spree shootings, because it's not an enabling factor and currently politically unfixable.

US (mental) healthcare in general and how to fix it however is an interesting discussion however.

I don't know any country that has a mental health service that is fit for purpose.

In the UK our system can care for a ridiculously low percentage of individuals who are actually ill (something like 10-20%). If that was the case for physical health there would probably be riots in the street. A few changes that could sort this out:

- More social outreach programs.
- More mental health personnel in general, to cope with the massive workload.
- Innovative solutions like CBT websites/chatbots that are low-cost, don't have the stigma of visiting a professional, and can reach a very wide audience.
- Make the NHS have a mandate to care for mental health at the same level as physical health (sort of like the Labour party proposed).
- Less default prescription of drugs, especially for conditions with low severity like mild depression. Other treatments like CBT should be tried first, rather than the other way round.

mentally ill people are more likely to be the victims of a crime than the perpetrator plus the last time i checked if the person it a danger to themselves or others mental health specialists are already required to take action.

in the case of someone seeing a psychiatrist who was seeing someone who said they wanted to kill lots of people that should automatically be enough to get them a 72 hour admission

Saucycarpdog:
I'm no quite sure what you mean by "othering".

To expand on what Sleekit said:

Many, many people use words like "mad" or "crazy" as insults, as synonyms for "wrong". This is based on the (usually, but not always) unstated and unconscious assumption that mentally ill people are less than everyone else.

Now, most people wouldn't condemn or ostracize someone who has a physical ailment like pneumonia or broken ribs (there are exceptions, though). But many people wouldn't see any reason not to do the same to someone who is mentally ill.

IMHO, the most important thing that needs to be done to improve the mental health system is to get society as a whole to see mentally ill people as being people, not jokes or embarrassments or threats. I don't see this happening any time soon, though.

Like you say in your first sentence of this thread, people are talking about mental health because a relatively very small number of presumed not mentally ill people died recently. Not because the mental health systems of most nations are failing massive numbers of people, not because of the ongoing deaths of people the system has failed, but because some people society hasn't decided should be ignored or despised were killed.

It can be fixed, but it will be a tough battle in the US for a few reasons.

1. money (as with anything else)

2. stigma

3. we tend to throw drugs at our problems. I mean the majority of americans are diagnosed with ADD or something, just so people can profit off of it. So the system exploiting people for profit or throwing someone under the bus to cover their own ass in the unlikely chance that something drastic is going to happen. So I guess this leads to:
3a. Sue happy culture.

 

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