Guns and Mental Illness: A Deadly Combination
While the debate on gun control is a slippery slope, a major component in many recent shootings is the effect of mental illness when untreated or undiagnosed. Leaving out the issue of who should have access to guns, mental illness is a glaring issue in today’s society, and is not something to overlook.
In the weeks leading up to the recent California attack, Elliot Rodger’s family voiced concerns to the authorities about angry social media posts, yet, according to Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown “He just didn’t meet the criteria for any further intervention at that point.” Despite his history of mental illness, concerned family members, and angry social media posts, the law was not able to empower the authorities to intervene and get a deeper evaluation of his condition, which might have made the difference in the lives of so many affected by this tragedy.
According to CBS news, his family made countless attempts to get him treatment for symptoms of psychiatric disorder, yet Rodgers wouldn’t have it. He was prescribed medication and wouldn’t take them. Here a young man with mental illness refused the help offered to him. Despite his family deeming him a threat, there was nothing more that could be done.
Perhaps this story, and so many like it, could have ended differently if the global approach to mental health issues was unified, supportive, loving, and informed. What if the first response was to see past the convincing argument that everything is fine, to dig deeper, to monitor and evaluate, to treat and make everyone safer? Ultimately we cannot force a person with mental illness to get the proper treatment without due cause. However, as a community we can be more conscientious of mental illness and seek a better understanding of exactly what we can do to help a loved one who suffers from it.
Shooting sprees like this are the result of mental illness being overlooked, under treated, or pushed aside by laws that don’t serve. For those who refuse treatment, sometimes an intervention may be the best solution. As a certified intervention professional, my team and I invite people to accept hope and help to change their life for good every day. It is a team effort.
At Breathe Life Healing Centers we believe that each client deserves to have his or her entire family engaged in the process of healing. Together we can do what we cannot do alone. There are many Americans living with psychiatric conditions who lead successful, productive, non-violent lives. Just because your loved one is affected by mental illness doesn’t mean he or she can’t live a healthy vibrant life. Accepting an invitation for help is a win-win for everybody; the community, the family, and most importantly the loved one suffering from the illness.