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Taking mentally ill off streets

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You are reading page 4 of Taking mentally ill off streets. If you want to start from the beginning Go to First Page.

I don't know how hard it is to get a court order in general. I just know of a family anecdote that showed it was difficult. The couple had been married for decades. The wife had become progressively aggressive towards her spouse. For weeks the husband had slept in his home office with the door locked because the wife would randomly walk through the house striking the walls with her cane and yelling that she was going to find the family gun and kill him. When the aggressive behavior had started the family had removed the gun from the house without telling her. She just thought it was hidden in the house and would spend hours searching for it.

The adult children were distraught and she agreed to go to the family doctor who said she would benefit from haldol. However, she refused the medicine because she didn't think she had a problem. She also denied her home behavior although her husband and children testified to it. The physician told the family it would likely take a murder to get any court action. After awhile she started refusing her insulin because she didn't think she needed that medicine either. That self-destructive behavior was enough to get the local judge to order treatment without her consent. The first haldol shot required the family tackling the wife and holding her while one of the adult children (a nurse) administered the shot. Future doses were much easier to administer.

A suicide attempt is proof that a person could be a danger to themselves which is why a court might order further evaluation or treatment. I'm glad it was only an attempt and hope things are much better now. Although it does not show, there have been times in my life when I was very depressed. I got better.

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In an effort to avoid being productive, I looked up some stats on the number & rate of people who commit homicide in the U.S. who have a mental illness.

  • 16,259 homicides were committed in the U.S. in 2008. (CDC)
  • 1,000 homicides a year are committed by people with a mental illness in the U.S.: 6% of homicides. (mentalhealthpolicy.org)
  • 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older — about one in four adults — suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. (NIMH) (seems high to me!)

The number of homicides committed by mentally ill persons is not even representative of the prevalence of mental illness in the general population. My point: I question whether there is any correlation at all between mental illness & homicidal tendencies.

Court-ordered treatment: Here’s a site that spells out state laws around the issue. The site is actually advocating to make it easier for involuntary treatment. http://mentalillnesspolicy.org/studies/state-standards-involuntary-treatment.html

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That's interesting data. What about a possible link of mental illness to mass shootings such as Tucson, Columbine, Aurora, Virginia Tech, and Newtown? These are the events that are prompting a national debate. I don't think there was a connection at Columbine but four out of five seem to have a link.

I recently had a reply from Rep. Jeff Flake. This is part of his reply.

"I support more effective and broader background checks for those purchasing firearms. For example, the state of Arizona has more than 120,000 records of mentally ill individuals barred from buying guns – but Arizona has not shared those records with the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which checks the names and records of would-be gun buyers to determine if they are disqualified from receiving firearms. "

I think it seems reasonable for states to share their data with the Feds who are doing the checks.

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No. The Feds have already got way more information on the average American citizen than they should. And I've already made my feelings known on the topic of disallowing everyone with a mental illness to buy, and own, firearms. :poop:

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I don't know about data linked to mass shootings and mental illness; however, I would like to say something in regards to the Virginia Tech shooting. I do not condone the shooting. But, living in the Virginia, I have read up on this incident. Cho had sought mental help several times--from school professionals, from psych institutions, etc. He had been through the system and nothing seemed to help. Let me clarify something from my experience with the mental health system in Virginia--I live on the western side of the state , so I can't speak for central and eastern Virginia; the mental health care system where I am is awful. Frankly, you get a lot rejects going into psych--people who can't hack med-surg or couldn't get jobs elsewhere (at least where I am). It's not people who are truly passionate about what they do and are knowledgeable in the area of psychiatry. From my personal experience, a lot of these people (not everyone) that are in the field have biased against people with mental illness, they do not know what they are doing, nor do they care that they do not know what they are doing. Money tends to talk in this field--no money, no decent care. There is also a lot of fraud that happens in psychiatry. I do wonder the quality of care that these people got (Lanza didn't get any that I know of; but the ones who had sought care...) Again, I do not condone these shootings; but we need better mental health care.

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He should not have been able to legally buy the firearms. Not because he was diagnosed with a mental illness, but because he was deemed a danger to self or others: Court Found Cho "Mentally Ill" | The Smoking Gun

The court order was not in the data provided to the gun store.

He was referred to outpatient treatment but did not go.

This was discussed on allnurses after the killings: https://allnurses-breakroom.com/us-politics/massacre-anniversary-gun-699146-page8.html

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I don't know if it is that hard to get a court order for treatment...I had a suicide attempt; was mandated for the 72 hour hold; then, when I had my hearing, the psychiatrist wanted me to stay--not because I was a danger, but because she couldn't figure out what was going on with me and wanted me to stay to try and figure it out. I told her I couldn't because I had to go back to school otherwise, I would fail my classes...the decision was that I could be released; however, I was court ordered for outpatient treatment for a certain period of time.

Court ordered treatment can be very hard to get for people who do not want it. Not everyone makes overt suicide attempts or has clear homicidal ideation.

Honestly, I had a period about seven years ago where I had four back-to-back medical hospitalizations for severe self-injury episodes over a three week period. A couple thousand stitches each, units of blood, and actual surgical intervention twice. I would get medically stabilized then transferred to my hospital of choice that had a psych unit. They knew me well - dozens of IP stays there over a decade or so - would evaluate my need for IP, then send me home because I declined IP.

During my last stay, while still in the ER, I was "made" to make an appointment with the state psych/therapy folks since we didn't actually have insurance at the time. Talked my way out of IP at the transferred hospital, went home. But I went to the OP. Saw a psychologist who basically told me that I would be court-mandated to IOP. I refused to sign any papers, etc. I didn't go back to that provider and ignored all phone calls. Dropping off the grid eventually proved helpful to my recovery.

But I imagine that a lot of chronic psych patients have something closer to my experience. They know you. You talk your way out. You drop out. Nobody comes looking for you. They probably cared fifteen years ago when I was thirteen and on inpatient stay 1-2-3-4-5 but now?

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