Let’s help people with mental health problems

“… Sources across the nation shook their heads, stifled a sob in their voices, and reported fuck everything. Just fuck it all to hell.

“All of it, sources added.”

Too soon, some might say, for a parody news site like The Onion to make light of the deaths of 20 children and 8 adults in a mad, meaningless, bullshit shooting spree in Connecticut.

But I think they said it pretty well.

“ ‘I …’ said Tom Miller, 27, after reading an article about the tragedy online. ‘I just …’

“ ‘…’ he added.”

Unfortunately there will be many more who won’t be speechless. Will the same tired debate achieve anything new this time around? Will anybody think of or say anything better than The Onion?

‘Forward’ he cried from the rear 

And the front rank died. 

And the general sat and the lines on the map 

Moved from side to side.

Pink Floyd

Damn if the next few days of commentary from the NRA, from the Brady Centers, from the gun control advocates and the gun nuts won’t sound awfully familiar – like a lot of braying donkeys.

One voice that always drowns quickly is the question of how we can help people who might end up homi-suicidal before it gets to the point where we argue about whether they should be able to buy guns.

How about we stop pretending like mental health is a problem that only the well-off should get treated? What if somebody besides the profit-driven employers and health care providers had a say in whether people with emotional and psychological issues had access to treatment?

Why, in this age and in this country, when we aren’t afraid of bears, invading armies, warlords or other serious physical dangers, are we not considering helping people out who might just need some counseling or medication to get through life without thinking seriously about killing the hell out of a bunch of small children or random, unarmed strangers?

God bless you if you have good health coverage with a mental health package. You’re one of the few. For the rest of you, you’ll probably still see mental health issues stigmatized and your prospects of a prosperous future harmed if you step out and get treatment.

Meanwhile you can sit back, watch the talking heads push the lines back and forth on the political map, shake your head, hug your kids. Whatever it takes to get you through the next day. After all, maybe you’ve got it all together. Maybe you don’t need counseling.

After all, nobody strong, composed and with-it ever breaks under strain or pressure, right?

3 thoughts on “Let’s help people with mental health problems

  • December 15, 2012 at 9:44 PM

    The title to this piece is disgusting. I am someone who suffers with a mental illness and I would never fucking shoot up a school. Not everyone with a mental illness is ‘crazy.’ They are successful people – school teachers, lawyers, doctors. They are your next door neighbour. Me? I’m a 20-something pursuing my degree. Articles like this and there titles are WHY people don’t seek help for their issues because they’re afraid they’ll be judged. We already go through so fucking much in our daily lives, those of us touched with mental health issues, we don’t need your judgement and we don’t want your stigma. Fuck right off.

  • December 15, 2012 at 6:20 PM

    Let’s help people with mental health
    problems so they don’t shoot up schools

    You apparently do not know us. How else
    could such a headline appear in your paper. You have conflated all of us with a
    very small minority, much like conflating any groups with their worst members.

    The press is often blamed for poor coverage
    of mental health issues, for caricaturing and stereotyping. While that is rarer
    and rarer, the above is example thereof.

    Harold A. Maio,
    retired Mental Health Editor

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