Mental Health and Gun Control
  • TheHeadacheslayer
    Posts: 2,472Member
    I follow this woman's blog and could not have been more....shocked.....to read her story. I think it took real guts for her to be so brutally honest.



  • tothemoonandbacktothemoonandback
    Posts: 3,934Member
    Hmm.  I have to chew on this for a moment before I give a gut check type response or opinion.

    Ok fine, my gut response "holy shit that terrifies me that there are probably a shitload of people right now mentally ill, without help, and with access to guns that are plotting the next massacre".  But of course there are.

    This is good stuff to have 'out there', regardless of policy issues, it's clear there's a section of our  population that is slipping through the cracks, underserved, underinsured, and mostly ignored. 
    Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius, and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring. - Marilyn Monroe
  • BeachChairMama
    Posts: 60Member
    My friend came to my house last night and we were talking about the blog post "I am Adam Lanza's mother". She said two different people had sent it to her but she had already seen it. She said "I know this woman's pain because it's my life too". Her son has serious mental health issues and now that he is an "adult", she has no choice but to watch him make the decision to be untreated. The system is reactive, not proactive - it is designed to react to things that have happened not to prevent things from happening. We do need to look at how we can provide more comprehensive mental health services to more people. Adam's mother had the resources to get him help due to her location and financial resources and she did try, but she needed more. The last I heard was that there are thousands of clients for each child psychiartist in the country. Yes, there have been places like Meadowbrook in the past but we have gone too far the other way and untreated and undertreated people go without the services they need. I work with too many kids who could do this because they can't see any other way out.

    I truly hope a middle way can be found - that responsible people who want to own guns can put checks on their own behaviors to protect others (be that licensing for rifles, background checks that include all people in the home not just the prospective owner, ban on gun shows, limits on rounds of ammunition, sever increases on the cost of ammunition, ban on certain types of weapons that are retroactive not progressive, guns only being stored in licensed gun clubs not in homes). I'd also like to see a cultural shift where the excessive gun violence in movies and video games is no longer glorified and profitable and people were more tolerant of others quirks and more willing to lend a hand to someone in obvious need.

    My right to live safely is limited by the rights of others to own guns. Their right to own guns should also be limited. Guns don't keep people safe; people keep people safe.
  • TheHeadacheslayer
    Posts: 2,472Member
    Supposedly there are questions to the validity of the post/writer of "I am Adam's Mother".

    But I completely agree with you @Beachchairmama

    I know how hard it was for me to find help when I was suffering from PPD--none of my doctors wanted to deal with me. The local mental health facility won't even see moms w/ PPD....and we're adults!

    But I definitely think any solutions to gun violence must include improvements to the mental health care of ALL of our citizens--young and old.
  • BeachChairMama
    Posts: 60Member
    I think the challenges to the "Adam Lanza's mother" related more to the idea of publically discussing the issues related to her child and his right to privacy. At least, those are the challenges I've read.

    But while he has a right to privacy, she wants support. Adam Lanza's mother respected her son's right to privacy so much that she kept her struggles secret. From what I've read (and I have no idea how accurate it is), she was diagnosed with an illness and felt she couldn't care for him anymore - or wouldn't be able to in the near future. So it is a theory that the attack was triggered by his reluctance or inability to accept being "put away". My friend has struggled with this issue as well - her adult son can't understand why he can't live at home, eat everything he wants, and live life as he pleases with no thought about expenses or other people's needs.

    If no one speaks out, how will things change?
  • 456Imamom
    Posts: 550Member
    Thank you for sharing the blog link. I completely understand where the writer is coming from. I was severely bullied as a child and teen... to the point of desperation! I wanted to lash out at my bullies, and those who stood by and watched, but mostly I wanted to stop hurting! In Canada guns and weapons are severely restricted and controlled (funny though, we still have debates about registration and licensing). You can't get automatic or assault weapons, and hand guns are banned. In general firearms aren't common, and I didn't know someone who owned any until I was 25 years old (and I had been in the military for 7 years). So these type of murder-suicide never crossed my mind. However, suicide did.... i though of a number of plans, but only tired to carry out one.... I was going to jump off a highway overpass 10 minutes from my junior high school in the last month of grade 9. I got as far as the grass beside the highway overpass before I stopped to think (and cry). At first all I could think of was how much I hurt, and how I wished my bullies could pay for it.... Then my mind went to my mom and dad. I love them soooo much, and I realized that they would miss me so much, and that they would be the ones that got punished, NOT the people who hurt me (or didn't try to protect me). It was then I realized I couldn't take my own life. I could NEVER do that to my family. 
    I still suffer from anxiety (and at time depression), but even when I get suicidal thoughts, I know I won't act on them. Having restictions on guns and weapons doesn't directly stop murder, suicide or murder-suicide, but it adds one more layer/delay to someones plans, and MAY just stop them from carrying out their plans. Either by disabling the plan, delaying it (which increases the chance of someone becoming aware and intervening), or thinking through the consequences (and enabling reason, compassion and morals to take over).

    Sorry for the long comment. Once I got started I had to get it all off my chest. 
    :\">
  • TheHeadacheslayer
    Posts: 2,472Member
    @456Imamom (((((HUGS))))) don't apologize sweetie. I'm glad you posted this, especially if it helped you!!

    I posted that link to start a dialogue.....there are so many arguments here, all over FB, everywhere and fighting about issues aren't going to solve them. I was truly shocked when I read the original post (I haven't followed her blog long but still). But I felt like it was important to "put it out here".

    In addition to my depression/anxiety, I have had chronic pain for 17 years--and I often say, usually in the throes of a heinous migraine, that THIS is one reason we don't have a gun. And I'm not usually joking about it. There are just some days where no matter what, I am wracked with pain head to toe and can find no relief.

    I agree with you, what you said about "adding a layer/delaying/disabling plans", 100%. One thing I read online (when desperate) is that it can't better if you aren't around.

    ((((HUGS))))) I'm glad you didn't do it, and you are HERE, for your sake and everyone.
    >:D<
  • BellaBefanaBellaBefana
    Posts: 10,374Member
    Admittedly, I didn't read this blog post.  I don't think I will either, but I can tell you everyone has a breaking point.  Yesterday, I reached mine, and I truly understand why seemingly perfectly normal people go normal.  I get that this isn't what this blog post is about, and I guess my point is that many, many, many times you just don't know what's going to cause a person to go "postal" with an AK-47.  Granted, this was a very troubled young man, but many aren't outwardly hostile, or visibly mentally ill.

    So, I guess we can say, yes, absolutely we need better mental health care in this country but is that really an answer to the problem?  For this young man and this tragedy, maybe for the others that have happened?  Who knows, and given that mental health records are highly, highly confidential (to the point where I have had study subjects sign consent for me to view their records, but their psychiatrists have refused to allow me access to the subject's full charts) how on earth will any background check pick this up?
    Bite me, cupcake!
  • TheHeadacheslayer
    Posts: 2,472Member
    @BellaBefana (((Hugs))) I'm sorry you are having a tough time. You know I'm here for you, right? I think of you often as you have helped me so many times  >:D<

    I don't think better mental health care is the only answer. But I do think it is part of the problem--the stigma, the lack of help, the inaction of others. So many times I think SOMEONE had to know that something wasn't right with that person. SOMEONE. Or maybe not. Maybe we're becoming so wrapped up in ourselves that we don't notice when someone is having a tough time and unbalanced enough to go off the deep end.

    Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you, even if it's just listen. xoxo
  • BellaBefanaBellaBefana
    Posts: 10,374Member
    @TheHeadacheslayer;  thx...btw, how's FloridaMommy doing?
    Bite me, cupcake!
  • TheHeadacheslayer
    Posts: 2,472Member
    @BellaBefana she's ok but it's complicated. I'll see if she wants to post an update.

    But we texted a bunch today, she had me laughing so hard I think I busted a rib ;)
  • BellaBefanaBellaBefana
    Posts: 10,374Member
    so long as she's o.k.!
    Bite me, cupcake!
  • BeachChairMama
    Posts: 60Member
    @BellaBefana - the multi-axial diagnosis is not protected health information under HIPPA. Psychiatrists may not release full records of session notes and frequently will only share full diagnostic reports with other professional due to concerns regarding how the patient may interpret the findings (of course - if they put the request in writing with a reason why the information is needed, we generally will provide something to the patient because they have the right to it). Still, depending on who is asking and why, copies of our records are only available with a judges subpoena - that's usually if they want our progress notes.

    The only things which are really protected information are HIV status, birth control/ sexual health info, and adoption records (those are impossible to get). All states have central databases for criminal info, child welfare, legal issues; the Federal government requires it. Cross-referencing wouldn't really be that difficult. Actually, most of the back end systems are already in place and cross-system checks in child welfare are done every day. No reason why it cant be expanded for gun checks to see if Mobile Crisis has ever responded to an address, if child welfare is involved, etc. Our foster parents have to provide info on everyone over 18 living in the home for background checks and clearances. Even biological parents have to provide that information. And moving a child across state lines requires even more checks and takes up to six months to approve.
  • BellaBefanaBellaBefana
    Posts: 10,374Member
    @BeachChairMama: obtaining multi-axis diagnoses only works if the person in question informs the individual checking of the problem, gives a physician name & consents to release of MR's. I don't ever give "blanket" consent, and would frankly be pissed off if I ever found out someone one had access to a database of medical info. HIPPA laws, as I have been taught them, would have to be revised if this were to happen, as only public health issues (communicable diseases, etc., seizure disorders for driving, etc.) are reported. I suppose that if a patient displayed an ideation of harming others, it would fall on the MD's obligation to report to police, but how often is this demonstrated?
    Having a Mobile Crisis team called to a scene generally involves police, so then yes, I agree THAT info could and should be put into a database. But I dont't see physicians dumping DSM dx's into something so readily accessable.

    Sorry for the one long paragraph, on my phone
    Bite me, cupcake!
  • BeachChairMama
    Posts: 60Member
    @ bellabefana - It depends on what systems are involved. Mobile Crisis doesn't always involve a police call (at least here it doesn't - other jurisdictions are different); my friend calls Mobile Crisis directly before she calls 911 if she feels safe enough doing so during one of her sons meltdowns - it's to avoid the cops being called if possible. But in child welfare (where I work) diagnosis is not protected info; clinical info related to the diagnosis may be but the diagnosis itself is more widely available. It's not public information - it's not like we advertise it or anything - but we do have to share it with regard to wider case management function - like on the record in open court; we don't share it with schools, because their reporting is wider than ours and the electronic systems do have checks - you have to have the security level and rights to see information, you are footprinted in the system so they can see if you are looking up stuff you should have no connection with, only check by docket or file number, etc.

    It would be easy to do a check and flag a gun permit application or purchase for recent mobile crisis to a particular address, indicated or pending child welfare involvement, Family Court Order of Protection - not a perfect system certainly but it gives a clearer picture of what type of home a gun will be in and if more investigation is needed by those people best placed to do it. Having gone on home visits with nothing more than my ID and a smile, I'd certainly want to be alerted if a family on my caseload wanted to purchase a firearm (not that they don't purchase them illegally - one of my boys is blind because he was messing around with a gun and was shot in the face. He's lucky he's not dead).

    It's really a matter of those who won't raise flags being willing to put up with more regulations in order to increase the chances of someone who shouldn't have a gun being picked up before they get one. But no system is ever going to be perfect; we need one that is better than what we have now.

    I love these kind of discussions - hugs to you Bella!
  • 456Imamom
    Posts: 550Member
    @TheHeadacheslayer Thanks  :-)


    Have I mentioned recently how much I love the discussions on this site? I'm not on often, but I always learn something and get to see different perspectives. Thanks Ladies!