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Tell Us: Should There Be More Focus on Mental Health Laws Following Sandy Hook Shooting?

After a mass shooting, the first issue that comes up for debate is gun control. But how should mental health issues be addressed?

The country is still in shock over the Dec. 14 massacre in Connecticut and already the debate on gun control has kicked into high gear. Often lost in the debate are questions about mental health issues and laws that address them.

Authorities say Adam Lanza, 20, shot and killed his mother that morning and then drove to Sandy Hook Elementary School to commit the horrific killing spree before killing himself. According to initial reports, Lanza appeared to have had some mental problems prior to the shooting, but it is difficult to say that it would have predicted this.

Some mental health advocates are pushing for more mental health support and resources at schools to help at-risk kids, suggesting that mental health legislation would be an easier sell at Congress.

Rep. Grace Napolitano, D-Santa Fe Springs, one of Monrovia's new representatives in congress, issued a statement addressing the need for more mental health legislation following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.

"We must all work together to secure and protect the federal funding needed to carry out mental health services and programs for all Americans," said Napolitano. "We must ensure that mental health support is made available for all children, their families, first responders, and the community of Newtown to help deal with this tragic event.”

Patch Asks: How should mental health issues be addressed? Is there a need to secure more funding for mental health services and programs?

Judith Trout December 24, 2012 at 01:23 AM
Everyone of the mass murders have had Mental Health issues, It should have been looked into several years ago. Taking away guns will not change these people, they will just find another way.
Chip Louie December 24, 2012 at 10:04 PM
It is far easier and less expensive to attack guns than to tackle the very difficult work and huge expense of the common underlying cause of these recently highly publicized murders. Mental health and the associated social issues have long been ignored and unsupported by the insurance industry and public policy makers due to the extremely high cost of addressing these issues in a serious and effective way. IMO the problem is the American medical industry driven by the huge monitory profits for investors in the medical industries and not the best overall physical and mental health of the public. If the profits of the drug and insurance industries were put into therapies that resulted in improved physical and mental health we would see many fewer stories like these in the news. It is interesting to note that studies comparing USA and European countries clearly demonstrate that countries with the strictest gun laws have the highest murder rates. Apparently taking away guns from the public does nothing to decrease murder rates only how people commit murder. Many highly publicized murders are committed using guns but the press very rarely reports murders by other means. This leads the public to think that by reducing firearms murder rates will go down when in fact the opposite is true.
Reevah Simon December 25, 2012 at 05:22 AM
The problem is the mental health laws. By definition, having a mental health disorder means the mentally ill person has poor judgment. That usually means they do not take prescribed medication nor do they keep appointments at mental health clinics. There is no way to make someone accept treatment or take the medication that helps them. The State Hospitals were closed with the understanding that the new medications allowed patients to live in the community. What the laws do not cover are the majority of patients who refuse treatment and prefer the open air asylums of the street. They do not see themselves as having problems; its everyone else.
marty c December 25, 2012 at 06:04 PM
This person (Lanza) may have been autistic which is a developmental disorder rather than a mental illness. We have seen over and over in southern California police officier untrained in identification of illnesses and reactions of killing an jnnocent mentally ill person. Not rouge cops - errors in judgement. Ive seen instances of parents not understanding their childs mental illness.

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