A recent “E-News” bulletin by the pharmaceutical supported National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) urged Congress to pass legislation to “improve” mental health care in America. The bulletin urges its members to contact their U.S. Representatives to “reinforce our commitment to action.” Nonsense. This is totally industry driven, with no public support.
NAMI members were provided information about two bills currently pending in Congress: The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (HR 3717) introduced by Congressman Tim Murphy (R-PA) and the Strengthening Mental Health in our Communities Act of 2014 (HR 4574) introduced by Congressman Barber.
Both of these bills benefit the ever-growing mental health/psychiatric industry and pharmaceutical companies, and both pieces of legislation use shooting incidents as the impetus for Congressional action. Murphy’s bill apparently is in response to the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School and Barber’s is in response to the 2011 Tucson mall shooting where Congresswoman Giffords and also Congressman Barber were victims.
“Improved mental health” is the mantra of both bills, suggesting that mental health care in America is subpar. So let’s look at what mental health information is available for both of these shootings.
According to media reports the Tucson shooter, Jared Loughner, had, in his junior year of High School, broken up with a girlfriend and was dealing with the death of his grandfather. Loughner was seen by psychiatrist, was diagnosed with depression and prescribed medication.
Although it is reported that Loughner never took the prescribed medication, it was at this time that friends began to notice a change in Laugher’s behavior. It also is reported that Loughner never showed any signs of violence or displayed any kind of threatening behavior…until the shooting.
Fast forward to the Sandy Hook shooting. It is reported that the 20-year old shooter, Adam Lanza, suffered from OCD and a profound form of Autism. This data reflects Lanza’s mental health status as a 15-year old, literally five years prior to the shooting. The State Police Report of the incident provides no mental health data about the mental health treatment Lanza may have received in the five years leading up to the shooting.
Five years before the shooting, Lanza was “treated” at the Yale Child Study Center and was prescribed two antidepressants, Celexa and Lexapro, and reportedly experienced serious adverse reactions to both drugs. That is the extent of the known mental health treatment Lanza received.
Both of these shooters had access to mental health professionals, both were diagnosed with psychiatric mental disorders and both received prescriptions for psychiatric drugs. What part of America’s mental health system failed them? Both sought out mental health services and both received the apparent recommended mental health treatment.
Psychiatric diagnosing is completely subjective, and psychiatrists are the first to admit that they are unable to predict whether a patient will become violent. In the case of Lanza, Yale Child Study Center’s, Dr. Robert King, reported “while I was concerned clinically with his rigidity and social constriction, I noted nothing in (the shooter) which would have made this unfortunate outcome foreseeable.”
According to Rep. Murphy, a clinical psychologist, “civil rights concerns are misplaced. When you’re in jail, homeless or in a coffin, what rights do you have?” That is an excellent question, but not for the reasons Rep. Murphy is using.
Ablechild sued the state of Connecticut to obtain the medical/mental health records, toxicology and autopsy report for Lanza. The state denied the request on the grounds that Ablechild was not a “stakeholder.” As a deceased person, Lanza has no rights and, therefore, his records should be made public.
Ablechild urges its Members and all interested parties to write to their Members of Congress demanding that not one more dime of taxpayer money be appropriated for increased mental health services until:
Federal legislation is enacted that in the case of mass shootings (2 or more) the toxicology, medical/mental health and autopsy reports of the perpetrator(s) are released for public review.
Federal legislation is enacted that would make it mandatory that mental health
data, including prescription drug information (regardless of age), is made
public in cases of mass killings (2 or more).
Federal legislation is enacted to set up a national database to collect information
on criminal acts and psychiatric drug history at the time of arrest.
While Representatives Murphy and Barber clearly are concerned about the state of the nation’s deteriorating mental health treatment services, with 70 million Americans taking at least one psychiatric mind-altering drug, there is a much larger discussion that both pieces of legislation fail to address.
With one-in-five Americans receiving mental health services in the form of psychiatric drugs, and what appears to be increasing numbers of violent acts, is it possible that the problem lies in the kind of mental health “treatment” being provided? Rather than rush to increase costly mental health services, perhaps an in-depth look at the “services” being provided is a better use of time and taxpayer funds.