Mental Health and School Shootings



     Yes I went there,  I did, and I am sure I am gonna irritate half of my readers and alienate some others.  But this is my blog, my views and my rules. 
     I am so tired of school shootings in this country,  how are we are the only developed nation that is contending with this problem on this basis?  It started with Columbine and seems to have snowballed from there. 
     Each shooting has a common denominator : the shooter is unhappy,  probably bullied,  they are on some type of stabilizing medication.  Whether it is an SSRI
(anti-depressants) Paxil,  Wellbutrin,  Prozac,  Zoloft,  etc.  Or a stimulant meant to control ADHD  such as Ritalin, Concerta or Adderall. 
     The so called experts will tell you if you add those two factors together you get the perfect storm of uncontrolled anger.  I also can’t help but wonder what we are missing.
     These types of random school and workplace,  or even social event gathering shootings did not happen 20 years ago.  Columbine on April 20th 1999 was the beginning of the flood of these acts.  Columbine took the lives of 13 students and teachers.  15 if you were to add Kliebold and Harris,  who turned the guns on themselves rather than be apprehended.  Before Columbine there had been 31 school shootings with 63 lives lost in that 15 year period  Since Columbine the lives lost is 215 in the same 15 year period with 89 incidents.  Something has changed drastically,  but I don’t know what.
     I do know that we have become less tolerant of our mentally ill,  while at the same time providing them less services.  Our health system sees medication thrown at them as a way to fix it.  Yet states have shut down many if not all of their mental health facilities. Relying on outpatient services instead,  obviously that isn’t getting the job done.  Most insurance companies pay for little mental health care,  and to do so want the ability to climb through your records.  My comfort level gets really uneasy with that.  I don’t need an insurance company knowing that someone might have a breakdown,  or already did.  That is between the patient and their medical team.  The insurance company needs to just write the check.


     Somewhere in here lies the answer,  part of it I believe is tougher gun control laws,  another portion is better mental health care,  and the final piece of the puzzle would be to address our dependence on some of these drugs.  Are they truly necessary,  or because we have such piss poor mental health care in this country have they just become the first line of defense?


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