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Handling Mental Illness - Response To VA Tech  
User currently offlineAdh214 From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 360 posts, RR: 0
Posted (7 years 4 months 4 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 1166 times:

Now that the Virginia Tech tragedy is almost a week old, the pundits and politicians have started the usual calls for gun control. I wonder if this is a bit misguided. It would seem that the cause of this tragedy was mental illness.

After having dealt with a good friend who experienced a mental illness a few years back I have a much different perspective on this problem. Many people want to just dismiss mental illness as "crazy" and tell people to snap out of it. In my experience, mental illness is as much as sickness as the flu or stomach virus. It is my understanding that people with mental illness truly have a chemical imbalance in the brain. With medication and counseling, it is very possible to overcome mental illness and continue a normal and productive life.

Perhaps the better response to this tragedy would be a have a national discussion about mental illness. By making this a disease people talk about, some of the stigma will be washed away. People will be more apt to seek treatment and continue treatment. Friends and family will be more likely to encourage people to get the treatment they need. There is no stigma attached to getting the flu and in my opinion there should be no stigma attached to being treated for mental illness.

Andrew



Please note, I don't want to turn this thread into a discussion on gun control. While an interesting topic with many good points from both camps, I would prefer to discuss that in a different thread. Thank you.

17 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineSTLGph From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 9363 posts, RR: 26
Reply 1, posted (7 years 4 months 4 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 1159 times:

Quoting Adh214 (Thread starter):
the pundits and politicians have started the usual calls for gun control. I wonder if this is a bit misguided.

yes 32 people got shot to death in a classroom. let's just ignore that fact right off the top.

Quoting Adh214 (Thread starter):
Perhaps the better response to this tragedy would be a have a national discussion about mental illness. By making this a disease people talk about, some of the stigma will be washed away. People will be more apt to seek treatment and continue treatment. Friends and family will be more likely to encourage people to get the treatment they need.

...because i'm sure everyone wants to step forward and admit that they're cooky. the last thing that mr. and mrs. soccer mom would -ever- want to do is admit that their little prince and princess has something wrong with them. that's real productive when it comes to playmates, college applications, hanging out with the neighbors and trying to one up them and then some. after all, the little rugrats have to grow up and be the best and love Je$u$.



if assumptions could fly, airliners.net would be the world's busiest airport
User currently offlineAdh214 From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 360 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (7 years 4 months 4 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 1151 times:

Quoting STLGph (Reply 1):
yes 32 people got shot to death in a classroom. let's just ignore that fact right off the top.

I guess what I am getting at is that there are ways other than gun control to prevent another tragedy like VA Tech.

Quoting STLGph (Reply 1):
mr. and mrs. soccer mom would -ever- want to do is admit that their little prince and princess has something wrong with them.

Mr. and Mrs. Soccer Mom have no problem admiting their child has the flu. If we can reduce the stigma of mental illness they will be more likely to deal with it rather than push it underground and keep it a secret.

Remember just 30 years ago, people only spoke about cancer in whispers. Today, thousands of breast cancer survivors proudly participate in Susan G Komen events. If mental illness can make the same transformation, imagine how many people would seek treatment and live more productive and happy lives. Further, we would do a better job of helping the one guy in a million that is going to become violent.

Andrew


User currently offlineEK20 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (7 years 4 months 4 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 1141 times:

I'm reading a very good book at the moment We Need To Talk About Kevin. It's hard to figure out if a kid is born evil like that or if how he is brought up causes it. But in the end I think someone like that is fundamentally evil from day one.

User currently offlineSTLGph From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 9363 posts, RR: 26
Reply 4, posted (7 years 4 months 4 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 1141 times:

Quoting Adh214 (Reply 2):
Mr. and Mrs. Soccer Mom have no problem admiting their child has the flu. If we can reduce the stigma of mental illness they will be more likely to deal with it rather than push it underground and keep it a secret.

the flu vs. zoloft.

that's great. let's compare Meryl Streep and Suzanne Somers while we're at it.

Quoting Adh214 (Reply 2):
Today, thousands of breast cancer survivors proudly participate in Susan G Komen events.

trust me, in many cases, it's more of a social event and about social stature than anything.

Linda and her five housewive girlfriends go out and lunch one day and decide during their post-latte tinkle about "how great it would be to go out and raise money for cancer ... and of course ... be seen." so they show up on race day in their Joan Vasse and Lacoste and put on their shoes, flip back their hair, hang out, "make a difference," and give the impression that they're putting out so much effort taking a break spending their husbands money for an afternoon so they do "important work" running for money their husband raised in the office pool. of course after the race they hit up a cafe for a bottle of wine and celebrate in the triumph of their successful contribution to the world.

can't really celebrate if munshskin's up on the 5th floor.



if assumptions could fly, airliners.net would be the world's busiest airport
User currently offlineEK20 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (7 years 4 months 4 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 1130 times:

Andrew,

I think you are confusing mental illness with pure evil. There are many people suffering from mental illness but they don't go shooting people. The big debate here is what's called NATURE OR NURTURE? Is someone evil from birth or is society to blame? What about Adolf Hitler, would you say he was mentally ill?


User currently offlineKaitak From Ireland, joined Aug 1999, 12466 posts, RR: 37
Reply 6, posted (7 years 4 months 4 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 1095 times:

I think Adh214 raises some interesting and very important points; no one is suggesting that gun control is not important and should be considered, but I think that it is very valid to have a separate and detailed consideration of mental illness and how it should be treated.

For the record I don't think people are born evil or are fundamentally evil; I believe circumstances made them so. It's already been suggested that Cho's exposure to violent movies was a factor, but I don't think that alone can be blamed. Anger is not wrong (hatred always is), but what is important about anger is the way we channel it; it is said that depression is anger turned inward. If we have angers - regardless of whether they are valid or not - which we do not address face on, but simply internalise and suppress, they don't go away; they just fester and grow, when they could be faced head on and addressed. If left unchallenged, if there is no way for people to understand or address these issues, then they will become dangerous.

I agree totally with Adh214's comments that there is a stigma relating to mental illness and that does need to be addressed. However, sometimes the solution is to get individuals to talk and to get to the bottom of the anger - not to sympathise with it, but to get them to channel it in a constructive and positive way.

If you take someone like Hitler, you can identify some of the causes that led him to what he ended up becoming; his father was strict and often beat him; you can argue that his self esteem was so low that he needed someone to look down on and treat as a scapegoat, and the jews - a very convenient scapegoat for society's ills - provided that. He was a very angry young man - a frustrated artist, a vagrant for a while, who tried to find a purpose by fighting for Germany during WW1 (and very well, as it happened), but when that ended, he had a great sense of betrayal - and anger, which he channelled into racism and his very extreme political views. He was also a deeply immature person, in that he could not tolerate criticism, or opposing viewpoints. Many of those with whom he surrounded himself were lackeys and yes men, with no backbone or personal morals.


User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20632 posts, RR: 62
Reply 7, posted (7 years 4 months 4 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 1040 times:

Quoting Adh214 (Reply 12):
In this thread I am pointing out that treating mental illness is another tool that might help prevent a future tragedy.

Which is altogether not a bad idea. How are you proposing that this be done? The mental health industry is a dysfunctional esprits de corps of sort itself in many ways--read some of the reports that have come out in the past few days of the doctors and others who saw the shooter in the runup years to this event, some even made recommendations, but virturally no one followed the few that were even made.

Simply removing the stigma of seeking help isn't enough, I don't believe.



International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlineSTLGph From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 9363 posts, RR: 26
Reply 8, posted (7 years 4 months 4 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 1036 times:

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 17):
Simply removing the stigma of seeking help isn't enough, I don't believe.

seeking help isn't enough. with mental illness ... once you're looney, you're already there.

it's not like something like stomach stapling where when you admit a deficiency about yourself (weight) and work to correct it (losing weight), you seek reward and compassion for being imperfect and are often given as such because now that you are thin(ner) and somewhat more attractive, you're now on your way of being accepted into the country club.

the reason this is is because people like to be surrounded by those that are aesthetically pleasing.

admitting you're nuts or trying to talk about how you, or son/daughter/mother/mistress/internet boyfriend is nuts is *not* aesthetically pleasing.

so when it comes to loopey people, you just stereotype them as being such and hope you have better aim when they burst through the door weapons ablaze.

when it comes to the others, well, a good surgeon and a couple of martini's is all you need.



if assumptions could fly, airliners.net would be the world's busiest airport
User currently offlineAdh214 From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 360 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (7 years 4 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 1018 times:

What is happening to this thread? Several of the response have been deleted. There were 13 responses about an hour ago and now we back down to 8.

User currently offlineEK20 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (7 years 4 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 1010 times:

Anyone interested in this subject should read a book called We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver.

It's about an unloved son Kevin who has grown up to commit a horrifying crime. Is the mother somehow to blame? Or was Kevin simply born bad? Three days short of his 16th birthday, Eva's son, Kevin, shoots seven of his fellow students in the school gym and watches with grim satisfaction as they bleed to death.

In her letters, Eva attempts to discover why Kevin became a killer by examining her domestic life.

It's a brilliant book.




VIDEO

[Edited 2007-04-22 22:57:58]

User currently offlineAa757first From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 3350 posts, RR: 7
Reply 11, posted (7 years 4 months 4 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 961 times:

Quoting STLGph (Reply 1):
...because i'm sure everyone wants to step forward and admit that they're cooky.



Quoting STLGph (Reply 4):
the flu vs. zoloft.

That's exactly the point.

Fifty years ago, if a teenager was pregnant, no one would talk about it. My grandmother wouldn't even say the word "pregnant," and CBS wouldn't let Lucy say it either. Now, a teenager can go into a pharmacy, pick up birth control pills and most people wouldn't even think twice about it.

If we can work on changing the cultural perception of mental illness, we could probably make it easier for people like Cho to seek care in a non-judgmental way. It will take a long time, but it should help.

This is totally separate from gun control. Regardless of if you think all guns should be immediately banned or everyone over the age of 18 should be required to carry one, most people would agree the mental health system failed the victims of VT. After all, he could have attacked with a bomb, which would have rendered gun control useless.

I think that teachers should get more training on recognizing the signs of mental illness. If people had realized Cho was totally mentally disturbed instead of just mean or weird, the shooting might not have occurred.

There should be a better system set up to help college faculty to get together and realize when someone is ill and give them the tools to do something about it. A lot of people are saying that Cho's symptoms were an unfinished puzzle. All of the pieces were there, but since people only saw a few of them, no one got the big picture. And a college should, after they recognize illness, have someone evaluate them.

People that are mentally ill shouldn't be allowed to buy guns and that piece of information should have been in the database, which probably would have prevented the (legal) sale of guns to Cho and who knows how many other people.


User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29799 posts, RR: 58
Reply 12, posted (7 years 4 months 4 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 956 times:

Actually I have been pretty happy with the attention the media has been puttin on the mental health aspect of it as opposed to the gun control. People these days seem to be more interested in looking at the root causes, not endorsing a civil right stealing, peice of crap legislation like gun control.

And Congress is happier to talk about the metal health issues too. The smarter Demoncrats know that gun control is a loosing issue for them, so if they can keep off that subject and deal with mental health, they will be better off for it.



OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlineN174UA From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 994 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (7 years 4 months 4 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 953 times:

Quoting Adh214 (Reply 2):
I guess what I am getting at is that there are ways other than gun control to prevent another tragedy like VA Tech.

 checkmark  While we're at it...let's find ways to identify and help the loners and misfits who commit all these crimes. Every shooting in a school is caused by people who fit the exact same profile. Bullying and the like...when does that problem end?


User currently offlineLuv2fly From United States of America, joined May 2003, 12110 posts, RR: 48
Reply 14, posted (7 years 4 months 4 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 939 times:
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Quoting Adh214 (Reply 9):
What is happening to this thread? Several of the response have been deleted. There were 13 responses about an hour ago and now we back down to 8.

One can not mock gun control or the like, failure to follow these rules gets your post deleted and or worse.

I agree we need to look at the cause of the problem though tougher gun control laws would also help.

It seems like any other crime problem, i.e. drugs, is to get them off the streets. We have a problem with guns and the solution is to arm more people!



You can cut the irony with a knife
User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 14026 posts, RR: 62
Reply 15, posted (7 years 4 months 4 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 933 times:

Quoting L-188 (Reply 12):
Actually I have been pretty happy with the attention the media has been puttin on the mental health aspect of it as opposed to the gun control. People these days seem to be more interested in looking at the root causes, not endorsing a civil right stealing, peice of crap legislation like gun control.

Then they should also approach the subject of bullying, like with the Columbine killers.
I have heard here repeatetely from mainly American A.net members that if somebody is being bullied he has to fight back and if out of some reason he can't fight, he should suck it up and don't bother the others with it (like somebody has to be the looser).
I was bullied extensively in school myself (I was the proverbial nerd, skinny, with glasses, good in physics, but a disaster in the school gym).
Believe me, it is no fun to be beaten up by 5-6 stronger boys. And also what didn't help was that the teachers back then (late 1970s-early 1980s) were of the strictly non-violent types, for whom everything had to be discussed, as if you can stop bullies by talking nice to them (the bully, the misunderstood, poor child! In fact the bullies usually had a crowd of onlookers and cheerleaders, both male and female, with them). Any time I had, by pure luck, the upper hand and was finally able to catch one of the bullies alone, without the whole gang being present to help him, and able to teach him a lesson to leave me alone, a teacher would interfere against the "bad use of violence" and that we should just talk the issues over.
I HAD phantasies of arming myself (and for a while I was carrying a blade) and to finish the bullies off once and for all. Ok, my phantasies did not include killing the whole school, but I definitely wanted to get rid of the bullies.
I was lucky that I had people OUTSIDE school, who respected me (I used to hang out at the physics department of Freie Universit�t Berlin and used to help in the laboratories), also I had some friends in the cadet squad of the Civil Defense (which I joined at the age of 15).

To stop these senseless massacres you'll have to go to the root causes. Just banning guns is not going to stop them. Last year during the inauguration ceremonies of the new railway station in Berlin a young man ran amok with a kitchen knife, stabbing people at random, at least 30 people were gravely injured. Only the presence of ambulances due to all the VIPs prevented people from being killed. One person stabbed early during the incident was infected with HIV. The knife was subsequently used to stab other people, who are now afraid of having been infected with HIV.
Also I remember a case in Berlin of a man running amok with a samurai sword, which in trained hands is a devastating close range weapon.

I don't believe in a person being intrinsically evil from birth on. Either there has beein a mental defect or there has been something wrong in his growing up. It is up to science to find the reasons, free of ideology, to prevent such events fro reoccuring.

Jan


User currently offlineLTBEWR From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 13113 posts, RR: 12
Reply 16, posted (7 years 4 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 927 times:

While gun laws should be revised to make sure those with recent mental health problems (not something from 20
years ago and resolved) cannot get guns or possess them in public, I do agree that mental health issues need to be addressed, but it is a very complex situation that offers no real easy or universal ways to address it.
Cho may have had mental health problems since a child. His parents were from a culture that had difficulties in admitting mental health problems. Don't forget that for parents anywhere they are going to be extremely wary of considering their child has a mental health problem. Probably his parents were not knowledgeable of and therefore didn't recognize the seriousness of the problems. To make it worse, due to the need for both parents to both work an obscene amount of hours to make a enough money to live on and get ahead in the USA, that meant they really didn't spend enough time with their son. The parents apparently were not social at all with fellow Koreans where they lived, so perhaps the Cho's didn't know any better or have the support of friends to get help. Yet his sister seems not to have any mental health problems, did well enough in school to graduate Princeton and holds a full time job.
If Cho regularly saw doctors, they probably didn't recognize any possible problems either. That Cho was able to preform well enough in high school to get the grades needed to be able to go to and be on a course to graduate from a competitive school like VT show shows that one can be functional in many ways but still have serious mental health problems. You also have well intended and well founded laws to protect someone who may have mental illness. Problem is that they mean that schools, universities and employers are unable to make sure someone gets help, unless they are arrested for illegal behavior. If they do 'snitch' to authorities or parents, they may be breaking the law including a minefield of privacy rights laws and subject them to huge lawsuits from slick attorneys. We also have to acknowledge that some will consider someone to having a mental illness where lapses in one's school or work records due to hospitalization, although protected by law and deny them educational and work opportunities. Schools can remove students for violent or well documented bad behavior - just say something racists or sexist and you may be suspended for several days and in colleges, drugs use or sales, including underage or excessive use of alcohol can get your disciplined or thrown out. Schools and Universities are also under a lot of public pressure to look good and not harass students, even if it means deaths or injuries are shifted off-campus - so long as not on campus.
A number of possible ways to reduce the risks of someone committing mass murder may be available, but each of them have serious conflicts in their own way. To me, the best answer is for those around a person including family members to recognize the problems that exist and persuade them to get professional help in a confidential way.


User currently offlineSTLGph From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 9363 posts, RR: 26
Reply 17, posted (7 years 4 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 916 times:

Quoting Aa757first (Reply 11):
This is totally separate from gun control

not entirely.

what happens is that the person suffering from mental health, has a complete different idea/notion/ideology/logistical pattern about guns.

they don't see the gun as a gun in the sense that you and i do.

they see it as a tool that will allow them to appease their psyche.

it ultimately brings us back to the "guns don't kill people ... people kill people" saying, which, in the end all it does is cover up the obvious truth.

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 15):
Then they should also approach the subject of bullying, like with the Columbine killers.

the idea of bullying has been approached in several state legislatures. traditionally, what happens though, is that Republicans shoot down the notion seeing it as providing special exemption for gays and lesbians, which of course, they have to bend over backwards to make sure that "them type of people" don't get any type of special treatment because "Je$u$ wouldn't approve of them having any type of civil rights."

personally i think Je$u$ would have a bigger problem with people getting shot than equal opportunity. of course, that's just me and rationality speaking and we all know being rational is the biggest sin of all ... after investment property and missing the Nordstrom half yearly sale.

hell, more people died this week than the number of gay folks who want to get married. nor has anybody died because of a gay wedding ... although that Sally Jesse Raphael proposal didn't go over so well ... and wasn't that guy shot?

of course what happens with the bullying legislation is that its strength is only as good as the paper it is written on. what happens outside of the safe school zone? words are still said. kids are still mean. and they can still get their hands on those hand guns and come in and play shoot to kill as they wish.

after all, ever notice how whenever you hear about people getting shot, the person doing the shooting is described as a "deranged gunman"

coincidence?

i think not.

[Edited 2007-04-23 03:26:41]


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