January 2, 2013 at 11:15 am (Loose Screws Mental Health News)
Tags: background checks, California, federal government, firearms, guns, inmates, insurance, mental disorder, mental health, mental health coverage, mental illness, NAMI, NIMH, NRA, NY1 News, Obamacare, prisons, Proposition 63, psychiatrists, San Francisco Chronicle, state governments, The New York Times, Washington Post
In the wake of the Newtown, CT shooting, NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre called for a national registry of those who are mentally ill. According to the Washington Post, the federal government does not possess the constitutional authority “to require state agencies to report data.” All the federal government can do is either offer or withhold funding, as it did in the wake of the 2007 Virginia Tech Shooting when it provided additional funding for state governments that shared 90 percent of their mental health records. But it seems that 38 states already maintain an active database that “require or authorize the use of” mental health records during gun background checks. And the Gun Control Act of 1968 does not allow sales of firearms to people who have been institutionalized or considered to be mentally “defective.”
For the purpose of firearms sales, I support the idea of maintaining a database of people who have been institutionalized. This could prevent a person from being a harm to himself or to others. I speak as a person who has been institutionalized for being a harm to herself more than once. If I’d had access to a firearm, I wouldn’t be here right now. There may be many others who are in the same boat.
The New York Times reported on mental health coverage through insurance. In any given year, 26 percent of adults have a mental disorder, and 6 percent of adults have a mental illness that prevents them from functioning, according to the NIMH. In addition, 21 percent of teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18 undergo a “severe emotional disturbance.” But it seems as though 85 percent of employers offer some kind of mental health coverage through insurance, and 84 percent of employers with more than 500 employees allowed access to in-network and out-of-network mental health treatment. Beginning in 2014, insurance plans will be required to cover mental health disorders as part of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
The New York Times notes that many psychiatrists, however, don’t accept insurance:
Plenty of psychiatrists in private practice accept no insurance at all, though it is not clear how many; their professional organizations claim to have no recent or decent data on the percentage of people in private practice who take cash on the barrelhead, write people a receipt and send them off to their insurance company to request out-of-network reimbursement if they have any at all.
My psychiatrist does not accept insurance. He writes me a receipt, and I am to seek out-of-network reimbursement, a claim that has been repeatedly rejected by my insurance. The NYT is right on the money in this instance. But I am happy with my psychiatrist and would rather pay out of pocket for him without reimbursement than to find another psychiatrist who is in network.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, California is ahead of every other state in covering mental health services with public money. But as always, there are critics who say California does not go far enough, even though in 2004, California voters approved Proposition 63 that funnels $1 billion annually for mental health services by taxing the state’s highest earners. But funding is being cut, not just in California but also nationally, according to NAMI.
Overall, California cut $768 million from its state mental health services outlay during the past three fiscal years, according to a November 2011 report from the National Alliance on Mental Illness. California’s 21 percent reduction in mental health funding over that period is the seventh-highest among all states.
Nationally, states cut more than $1.6 billion in general funds from their state mental health agency budgets for mental health services since 2009, according to the 2011 report by the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
I’m not sure what can be done to stop funding cuts of mental health services when state budgets are slashing services across the board.
And finally, according to NY1 News, New York City Mayor Bloomberg has announced an initiative to get mentally ill people out of jail and into treatment facilities. The mayor’s office estimates that 36 percent of inmates suffer from some kind of mental disorder. The city initiative will attempt to “reduce incarceration rates, improve jail safety, and lower crime.”
August 7, 2008 at 7:06 am (Depression, Loose Screws Mental Health News, Statistics, Suicide)
Tags: BBC News, Brady Blog, Depression, elderly, England, firearms, gun control, guns, National Institute for Mental Health, NIMH, older people, Statistics, Suicide, suicide rate, Swiss, Switzerland
A National Institute for Mental Health in England report reveals particular progress in cutting suicides among young men.
The three-year average was 8.3 suicides per 100,000 population in 2004-06, down from 8.5 in the previous three years.
The article was brief and unclear which leaves me wondering what England is doing right.
“Sure, Grandpa gets a little cranky and blue sometimes, but he’d never
do anything stupid”, you might think. Wrong. Elderly people account
for 13% of the US population, but make up nearly 24% of completed
suicides. Older men are the most at risk with a rate of 29 per 100,000
Does this sound like anyone you know?
More than you know, Dr. Chiaramonte. More than you know.
According to the 2007 Small Arms Survey, the United States had about 90 firearms per 100 people – the highest ratio in the world – followed by Yemen, Finland, Switzerland and Iraq.
Over half of all suicides in the United States – 52% – were committed with firearms in 2005, according to the most recent CDC data available.
Gun control: good or bad? Discuss amongst yourselves.
December 14, 2006 at 3:29 pm (News, Suicide)
Tags: AK-47, editorial, gun, guns, halligan, Montgomery County, school shooting, shane halligan, Springfield Township High School, student shooting, teenagers, teens, tragedy
“Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor said he thought the teen had gone to school ‘to make a big show without shooting anyone.'” – Philly Inquirer article
The more I read about Shane Halligan, the more I realize that this 16-year-old had more access to guns and agility with them than most his age. He was an Eagle Scout and had an intense fascination with guns. He also knew where the key to his father’s gun cabinet was located.
It seems a bit of a stretch to hold his parents accountable in the face of such a tragedy but why did Halligan know where the key was located? Why? Was it that they trusted him? Was it because he had taken so many shooting classes and was so well-versed in gun technology that his parents had no reason to fear? It is a tragedy, but one at the very least, parents with guns should learn from:
Never let your child know where the key to your gun cabinet is.
The Inquirer editorial addresses this
“That fatal mistake was put in motion by Shane Halligan himself. Eagle Scout, fire company volunteer, ‘all-American boy,’ in the words of one parent, Halligan apparently despaired over falling grades. His parents talked of limiting free-time activities until he raised his grades.
Such caring parenting should not have become a life-and-death matter. But Shane Halligan was able to secretly grab his father’s AK-47, smuggle it into school, and shoot himself – with no chance for anyone to talk him safely through his pain.
Why does anyone need such a powerful weapon at home, and how could a teen get his hands on it so easily? Those questions no doubt haunt the Halligan family today.”
Kids might seem well, but teenagers are a volatile bunch. One never knows when a teen might “snap.” With the recent surge of school shootings, I’m not going overboard when I say parents should not allow their children – no matter how old – to have access to their gun cabinet. If your son or daughter does not have a permit to use a gun, s/he should not have easy access to a gun. It’s that simple.
Much of the latest articles surrounding the Montgomery County shooting have focused on better protection for schools and how to prevent children from bringing weapons to school. These focuses are valid. However, focusing on what drives teenagers to performing such actions is also just as valid. The Inquirer has an article on how to spot the signs of depression in teens. It doesn’t cover everything but it gives a bit of help. One thing I do appreciate the article pointing out is that males tend to seem more angry than sad when struggling with depression.
“Young boys and some men tend to manifest this profound depression more in irritability and angry outbursts,” said Nadine Bean, an associate professor in West Chester University’s master of social work program. “Sometimes, a boy is labeled as incorrigible when, in fact, he may be struggling with major depression.”
And why do some students choose school – a public place – to take their lives?
“Typically, those committing suicide at school are looking for a place where they can enjoy greater attention and recognition,” [Ronald Stephens, director of the National School Safety Center, a nonprofit that studies school violence and provides violence-prevention training, in Westlake Village, Calif.] said.