Our broken mental health system
Wednesday, Dec 19, 2012
* An Illinois Auditor General’s report from April of this year had some disturbing news about the state’s Firearm Owners Identification Card laws. Almost all circuit court clerks weren’t forwarding any info about mentally ill people to the State Police…
But that just covers those who are found mentally incompetent or judged not guilty by reason of insanity. That’s basic stuff. It’s enraging that the circuit clerks weren’t providing this information, and that nobody appeared to know about it, but at least that part is taken care of.
* More needs to be done, however. Much more. We need lots more public education in this country to help destigmatize mental illness issues. People need to be encouraged to seek help before it’s too late, and their families need to know about trouble signs and be warned that ignoring problems won’t make them go away. And maybe we need to talk about whether it should be so difficult to institutionalize some folks.
Whatever the case, the mental health infrastructure this country has in place right now is clearly not working.
* And there’s a very real danger that the mind-boggling Connecticut slaughter will make things worse on this front instead of better. The national media is all about ginning up the most fear it possibly can. This has to end. We need a grown-up discussion about mental health, about guns and about our society in general. And we can’t do that unless the media abandons its infantilism and grows the heck up, myself included.