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Better Mental Health Care Will Stop Senseless Shootings

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According to the Congressional Research Services about 32.4% American adults suffer from mental illness in a given year. The estimated prevalence of serious mental illness among all American adults is 5.8%, or a little over 18 million people. (CRS, 2013) These statistics are critical when evaluating the recent conversations about mental illness and gun control in the United States. Tucson, Virginia Tech, Aurora, Sandy Hook Elementary and Washington Navy Yard are all places that will forever be scarred and remembered by what psychiatrist E. Fuller Torrey calls, “predictable tragedies”. (Fuller Torrey, 2013) The shooters in these awful cases all had something in common: showing symptoms of severe mental illness that went improperly treated prior to the shootings. I have never been directly affected by one of these terrible incidences, but I do feel passionately about finding possible solutions that could help prevent another one of these tragedies. Every time I hear about a mass shooting, my heart breaks for the victims and their families, especially knowing that their loss has been attributed from a failing approach to mental illness in our healthcare system. As a nursing student and future nurse, I am passionate about advocating for all people suffering from both physical disease and mental illness. I think the stigma our society puts on mental illness is absolutely crippling. Even more detrimental, is the notion that when we talk about these mass shooting we should not talk about the mental illness the shooters suffered from because that causes negative stigma. Refusing to acknowledge proven signs and symptoms of mental illness does not fix the problem, and it does not bring awareness to society. It is wrong to connect all mental... ... middle of paper ... ...imes. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/19/us/politics/mental-health-again-an- issue-in-gun-debate.html?_r=0 Rosenthal B. (2013) Boarding mentally ill becoming epidemic in state. The Seattle Times. Retrieved from http: seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2021968893_psychiatricboardingx ml.html Tanfani J. (2013) Keeping guns away from people with mental illness is a complex issue. The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from http://articles.latimes.com/2013/sep/21/nation/la-na- shooting-background-checks-20130921 Weinstein LC., Lanoue MD., Plumb JD., King H., Stein B., Tsemberis S. (2013) A primary care- public health partnership addressing homelessness, serious mental illness, and health disparities. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23657696 Word Health Organization. (2013) Mental health legislation and human rights. ISBN: 92-4- 154595-x
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