Time to Bring Mental Health to the Table

The news satiated a few weeks back with a scenes and scenarios, occupying time, space and talk-time covering the stories of murderers, kidnappers, snipers and mass killings.

I kept hearing about innocent lives being taken much too soon and about the gun control reform. This conversation has been yakked ad nauseam to no avail.

As I walked through my living room, my mother fused to the news of the special needs kidnapped boy, his bus driver shot dead before his five-year old eyes immediately prior to being apprehended by his perpetrator.

The news commentator asked a question. His question stunned me. His question traipsed around my thoughts for almost two weeks. His question inspired this post.

I’m paraphrasing here but he asked; why did the kidnapper shoot the bus driver? I don’t understand what his motive was for killing the bus driver?

Granted, I am a trained social worker and even though I am currently under the Social Security Disability system, the question boggled my mind.

The answer is ‘the kidnapper is mentally unstable.’

Herein lays the greater question. Why are mental health services still lacking? After decades of consistent mass murder sprees, why do the mentally imbalanced remain underserved?

And although a handful of states and insurance companies have valiantly elevated mental health services and benefits, these efforts are obviously ineffectual.

The mental health facilities doors closed for good, shut down and locked. Bare boned, long waiting lists, no room at the mental health in-patient units. Mentally ill people seeking out help through voluntary admission, turned away without rhyme or reason.   ‘Try again at a later date.’  What will an emotionally distraught individual do between asking for help and ‘a later date?’

Mental health services need closer attention with a far-reaching vision toward a less violent future. Refusing mental health patients appropriate care serves no one; not the patient, not their families, not the citizenship–nobody.

There is no singular or simple solution to mass violence. Like any gray-zone issue. However, refusing to deal with the emotionally and socially disturbed medically, socially, culturally and politically, simply perpetuates violence on any scale.

The news reporter’s question spoke eons, mental health issues are far from the minds and hearts of media–until a catastrophic event. The headlines written for shock and entertainment value, fuel fear, shame and misconceptions underlying the mental health community.  Also known as stigma.

Stigma, definition, Oxford Dictionary; a mark or sign of disgrace.

For anyone to come to terms with a flaw or bell-curved deficiency is difficult. I failed to follow through with my first Social Security Disability application due to the stigma glued to the label.

(More on ripping labels into industrial shredders in a future post)

The families share the ‘stigma’ price with little to no support; left in the 21st Century Dark Age.

Mental Health awareness and education downgraded to the point wherein a news reporter asks a naive question.

Instead of spinning these stories into a black hole, perhaps the populace deserves professional tutorial(s) concerning mental health.

Instead of pushing the stories into the near past and focusing on newer, more entertaining epics, we could stick to a theme for the intent and purpose of engaging in real problem-solving, finding viable solutions to provide care for mental health patients and in turn provide care for world citizens.

Instead of the stories and those whose lives are forever changed by violence, why not unearth these buried stories for grounding possible solutions and leave the spin behind.

For those in need of information for themselves or for someone else, your local telephone book does provide US Government/Federal contacts and State and Government Offices. Check your local listings. I have included some US Government Agencies of interest regarding this blog post.

Resources:

National Suicide Prevention                   1-800-273-TALK/8255

National Suicide Prevention TTY          1-800-799-4889

Alcohol & Drug Treatment Referral     1-800-662-HELP or 1-800-729-6686

Health Care Information                        800-358-9295

Health Care Information TTY               800-377-4950

Health & Human Services                      877-696-6775 or  http://www.hhs.gov

Health & Human Services                      http://www.healthfinder.gov

Mental Health                                          800-789-2647 — General Information

Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration    877-SAM-HSA7

Again, check your local listings for State and Community Services Directory including non-profits and community parishes.

What are your thoughts?

***Please, when sharing your thought, comments or ideas, remain on topic and refrain from any abuses of language or negative slurs toward others.

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