In the wake of the recent nightclub shooting in Orlando, there are voices that are again loudly touting mental illness as a key target for preventing the repetition of such horrors.
Yet, as we wrote last year, researchers have already debunked the link between mental illness and gun violence. Instead, we found access to guns increases rates of suicide, but not of homicide. However, what most people don’t know is that, underlying all of this, there is policy prohibiting research from delving further into the issue and discovering where the evidence leads us.
I love Prince. My first job was at a movie theater that played Purple Rain for months.
I saw that movie hundreds of times, in five-minute bursts while I left the ticket booth unattended. My first concert was the Purple Rain tour – at the Capital Centre, outside of Washington, DC; one of the first albums I bought with my own money was Dirty Mind, on cassette, no less.
It turns out that almost everything I was taught about suicide during my clinical training is not true.
Contrary to what most clinicians are taught, there is clinical protocol we can follow to prevent suicide attempts – apart from locking people up. Very little of this new knowledge about detecting and treating suicidality has translated into practice.
It is frustrating as a retired Army infantry officer to see people assume that veterans, particularly combat vets, live with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). Most do not.
This perception is unfair to veterans, perpetuates a larger misunderstanding of PTSD, and diverts attention away from a larger population in need. Illustrating this problem, a combat vet recently told me about an ill-informed supervisor who replied, “I don’t need you going all PTSD on them…”
If you have read Beacon Health Options’ white paper, “Integration,” you learned that more than half of all adults with major depressive disorder are already managed in primary care settings.
You also learned that most antidepressant medications are written by primary care physicians (PCPs). However, most concerning is that approximately 45 percent of those who complete suicide have seen their PCP within the past month.
Today’s culture has embraced an erroneous connection between mental illness and violence, partly due to exaggeration by the media, especially in light of the many mass killings in the past several years. The Sept. 1 post on Beacons Lens that appeared after the on-air shooting in Virginia addressed this very point, stating, “[t]he proliferation of today’s media makes it too easy to draw conclusions that aren’t necessarily based in the evidence, often blurring the line between fact and fiction, a view supported by research.” There is, however, an important caveat to this mix of stereotypes and prejudices: the problem of suicide. The 20th century French writer and philosopher, Albert Camus, asserted that suicide is the one truly serious philosophical problem….
Last week’s on-air shooting in Virginia of a reporter and cameraman re-poses a question that simply won’t let go. What is the connection between mental illness and violence, if any? Columbine, Newtown, Washington Navy Yard, and now Roanoke, Virginia, are all names that force the question to bubble to the surface. Unfortunately, it won’t be the last time we confront it. Fact vs. fiction The proliferation of today’s media makes it too easy to draw conclusions that aren’t necessarily based in the evidence, often blurring the line between fact and fiction, a view supported by research. For example, news stories on mental illness either focus on the condition’s negative aspects or medical treatments, yet they don’t cover the many positive…
While not the first nation to assert the rights of gay couples, last month’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling is especially historic when considered against the backdrop of the 1969 Stonewall riots, considered to be the catalyst for the gay liberation movement, and the removal of “ego-syntonic homosexuality” from the list of disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III) in 1973. For American social (and legal) policy, this ruling came at lightning speed – within the Baby Boomer lifetime. Access to health care coverage is associated with improved health and lower mortality1 – improving both the health of the nation and the financial well-being of the health care system. So what does this mean for the health…