NRA chief Wayne La Pierre wants ‘broken’ mental health system fixed but rejects calls for more gun control legislation
Complicating matters, Zipple said, people sometimes see mental health treatment as something they can skip until their financial picture improves. “Often,” he said, “people see depression or anxiety as something they can handle on their own.” In some cases, those issues combine to disastrous effects. Todd Hiett, photographed at his Paducah, Ky., home on Aug. 30, suffers from mental illness. He has experienced the disparity in insurance coverage for mental health firsthand. (Photo: Stephen Lance Dennee, The (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal) Last summer, friends began noticing that Todd Hiett, a 43-year-old massage therapist, was growing delusional and manic. Urged to seek help, Hiett checked himself into a Lexington psychiatric hospital and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
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If theyre committed, theyre not at the naval yard. RELATED: NAVY YARD GUNMAN PASSED GUN CHECK DESPITE MENTAL PROBLEMS In the appearance on NBCs Meet the Press, LaPierre again deflected calls for more gun restrictions by blaming Alexis and the people who failed to stop him from entering a supposedly secure military installation. “The outrage ought to be placed on an unprotected naval base, on a criminal justice system … that doesn’t even enforce the federal gun laws when we could dramatically cut violence, on a mental health system that is completely broken, on a check system that is a complete joke in terms of stopping the bad guys. Lets do whatever we can, lets fix the broken system right now, he said. RELATED: OFFICIAL RECALLS BEING TRAPPED DURING NAVY YARD SHOOTING Last Monday, a heavily armed Alexis stormed the fortified Navy Yard, killing 12 people and wounding several others, before police killed him. The ex-Navy reservist had purchased a high-powered shotgun two days earlier, despite once telling police he was hearing voices and being pursued by people who were using a microwave machine to send vibrations into his body. Alexis had also been arrested for shooting out a construction workers tires and had been cited at least eight times for misconduct during his time as a reservist. RELATED: NAVY YARD SHOOTER’S MOM ‘SO VERY SORRY’ AS LAWMAKERS DO NOTHING But he was never convicted of a felony and may never have been committed to a psychiatric facility, so he wasnt disqualified during his federal background check for the shotgun.
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Mental health aid may be key in response to killings
Photo: Uncredited, Associated Press Aaron Alexis, who had mental problems, killed 12 people. A woman hugs a man before entering the Washington Navy Yard as employees return to work, Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013. The Washington Navy Yard returned to nearly normal operations three days after it was the scene of a mass shooting in which a gunman killed 12 people. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) Photo: Charles Dharapak, Associated Press A woman hugs a man before entering the Washington Navy Yard as… WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 19: Condolence notes and flowers are hung on a pole across the street from the front gate of the Washington Navy Yard, September 19, 2013 in Washington, DC. On September 16 Aaron Alexis entered a building at the Washington Navy Yard and shot and killed 12 people before being shot and killed by police.
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How shootings stigmatize people living with mental illness
But in too many cases, people simply assume that it is, no matter how much we caution that it’s best not to attempt to diagnose any medical condition speculatively through the news media. Unfortunately, stigma surrounds mental illness. It’s most associated with a violent stereotype. The result has always been fear, prejudice and discrimination toward anyone struggling with a mental health problem. The stereotype endures despite the fact that the U.S. surgeon general has found that the likelihood of violence from people with mental illness is low. In fact, “the overall contribution of mental disorders to the total level of violence in society is exceptionally small.” Despite the impact of the Navy Yard tragedy and those of Newtown, Aurora and Virginia Tech on perceptions, a much greater, different reality exists.
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New mental health Essential NU opens dialogue, explains resources
For the first time having a mental health ENU, it was a great stepping stone, but it could definitely be improved in the coming years.” Patricia Hilkert, director of new student and family programs, said the addition of mental health programming to Wildcat Welcome is an attempt to make students aware of the resources available to them and the ways the University can help them before the issues become too serious. “Northwestern is packed full of resources and people who care and want to help, but all the time we hear that students have no idea these things exist,” Hilkert said. “I dont want anyone saying ‘I had no idea that I could have gotten help for my mental health issues.'” Telles-Irvin noted that student support for the programming was crucial to its inception. “It was actually our students that came to us, your upper-class colleagues and peers that said to us, ‘We really need an ENU on mental health,’ and, because the students came to us with that request, we decided it would be a good idea,” she said. Hilkert said although last year’s tragedies including two student suicides brought increased attention to the issue of mental health, the ENU has been in the works for several years. “All the other events that occurred last year were happening at the same time as we were already working on this issue,” Hilkert said. “It was great to receive ASG support and all that, but it was all in the works.
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