Addressing Violence With Social Programs

Mark J Kline

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May 7, 2010
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Addressing Violence With Social Programs

The cost of social welfare programs for mental health is high, but so is the price we pay for not offering them.

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vxicepickxv

Slayer of Bothan Spies
Sep 28, 2008
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This is a very hard topic to have a reasonable discussion about. It's hard to bring up, which makes it very difficult to even see how to find a solution.

I actually know someone who was sent to an institution for a short period of time. Originally he was going to be released due to a problem with his insurance. That was settled, and they were going to keep him even longer. He went to the staff MD to see about a rather bad swelling on his leg, and the doctor immediately dismissed it. Two days later there was a state inspection, and he, along with two others who were medically mistreated were discharged the morning before. His first action was to go to the local ER and be treated for his brown recluse bite. He is now part of a lawsuit against the institution that ignored the problem.

It doesn't help that it's hard enough to discuss, but when you realize that proper treatment isn't given, it actually makes it even worse.
 

Mark J Kline

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May 7, 2010
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Thank you for writing this. I've had more than my fair share of friends end their lives because they were unable to find adequate mental health care, despite actively seeking it out over a long period of time. Eventually they just became hopeless...

In college my friend made the mistake of telling the University that he was severely depressed and considering suicide. They removed him from school and informed him that he would not be welcome back, worsening his depression and eventually resulting in the fulfillment of his death wish. Later I discovered that the school has a policy of removing "at risk" students. They see it as a liability. Better that he killed himself privately, that way they're not responsible.

Anyway... I just wanted to say... yes I agree that this is a huge issue and I'm grateful that more light is being shed on it here. Hopefully some awareness could eventually save a life or two.
 

2clueless

Clueless since 2003
Apr 11, 2012
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Going to echo the welcome back to Doctor Mark. Enjoy the quality of writing and the insight he provides.

On the actual topic.. while the event is absolutely devastating, the real tragedy is that it is not unique. It has happened before, and may happen again. There are a number of factors that contribute to these events, all of them difficult to deal with and address. Mental health and dealing with it, gun control, outside influences, and whatever else came to bear on the outcome. Absolutely mind boggling, where does one begin?
 

Mark J Kline

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May 7, 2010
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I'm sorry man. It must be hard hearing that kind of thing from your mother. I get a bit of that from loved ones too. But I think it's important to plant seeds of truth rather than beat them with the full grown tree. It's hard to know how to do that though.
 

Xman490

Doctorate in Danger
May 29, 2010
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Mark J Kline said:
Addressing Violence With Social Programs

Some will point to gun availability as the problem. Others will wonder if the perpetrator was bullied or humiliated. Some will think the problem was laxity in school security protocol. Some will look to problems at home. Some will reflect on the young man's chronic mental health issues.
But, of course, all of these perfectly reasonable contributors to the problem at hand (which could be accompanied by over-glorification of violence in media) are ignored, for the most part, by the public. The news media wouldn't dare try and look to PRIMARY sources of aggression! No! They have to fight competitors!
 

Alexnader

$20 For Steve
May 18, 2009
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I hadn't considered the effect of America's healthcare system on those who could require being institutionalised. This does seem to be a clear case where it's extremely difficult to rely on private business to care for these people, given a lot of the mentally ill may not be financially stable.
 

Gilhelmi

The One Who Protects
Oct 22, 2009
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Nasrin said:
Thank you for writing this. I've had more than my fair share of friends end their lives because they were unable to find adequate mental health care, despite actively seeking it out over a long period of time. Eventually they just became hopeless...

In college my friend made the mistake of telling the University that he was severely depressed and considering suicide. They removed him from school and informed him that he would not be welcome back, worsening his depression and eventually resulting in the fulfillment of his death wish. Later I discovered that the school has a policy of removing "at risk" students. They see it as a liability. Better that he killed himself privately, that way they're not responsible.

Anyway... I just wanted to say... yes I agree that this is a huge issue and I'm grateful that more light is being shed on it here. Hopefully some awareness could eventually save a life or two.
I am truly sorry to hear about that situation. I wish we, as a society, would start to treat mental illness more like Pneumonia or a broken bone. No Doctor would just ignore the problem and immediately discharge someone.

I take hope that the US Military is getting better about mental combat stress related injuries (PTS and PTSD). Commanders could lose their command now for pulling what Gen. Patton did (long story short, he should have been striped of his rank and command). I am hopeful this translates to society as a whole in a few years, as Americas Soldiers join the workforce.
 

AldUK

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Oct 29, 2010
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I have actually stayed in a mental hospital before, which I wrote about on this website here : http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/18.247024-Ask-a-guy-who-just-spent-a-week-in-a-psych-ward-anything?page=3#9066756

So, whenever mental health is discussed in any sense it always catches my eye and my interest. I found your piece to be very well written and sensible, I kind of wish I could sit down with you and talk about my own problems.

Thanks for this article, I agree that more could and should be done, it's no excuse to blame costs, especially in America with the funding the military receives.
 

DrunkOnEstus

In the name of Harman...
May 11, 2012
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It's very good to see you back Dr. Mark, and I greatly appreciate you taking the time to provide insight on the real issues at hand here. It feels sometimes like there's a stigma in the media to delve into mental illness as a topic of discussion, maybe due to a lack of sensationalism or out of fear that humans just might be capable of things like this on their own. It actually disturbs me that much of modern society hasn't advanced enough to quit blaming entertainment. There's real problems that require real solutions, and talking heads spouting off political agenda on TV does nothing but insult those we lose in tragedies like these.
 

90sgamer

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Jan 12, 2012
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Regarding the last question asked: yes, it appears we can afford to avoid them. How many people die a year in America from mass killings? How many millions of dollars are you willing to spend to avoid that many deaths? How do the above numbers stack up to other avoidable deaths caused by exposure or hunger? Are those kinds of death less or more expensive to prevent than providing universal mental health care? Lastly, of all the mas murderers in America, how many would have been confined to an institution before the murders?
 

Zhukov

The Laughing Arsehole
Dec 29, 2009
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"A viable social welfare safety net should include access to a continuum of mental health care, ranging from long-term inpatient hospitalization, to shorter term community inpatient care, to supported residences, to intensive day treatment programs, to outpatient services including psychotherapy and medication. This care should be available to both children and their families, as parents are often stressed and overwhelmed by the task they face."

Okay, obviously I'm no expert, but that sounds really, really, really, really... expensive. As in, way too expensive to happen any time soon kind of expensive.

Besides, aren't you folks already facing severe difficulties just getting any kind of government-funded health system into action?
 

Tom Goldman

Crying on the inside.
Aug 17, 2009
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Zhukov said:
"A viable social welfare safety net should include access to a continuum of mental health care, ranging from long-term inpatient hospitalization, to shorter term community inpatient care, to supported residences, to intensive day treatment programs, to outpatient services including psychotherapy and medication. This care should be available to both children and their families, as parents are often stressed and overwhelmed by the task they face."

Okay, obviously I'm no expert, but that sounds really, really, really, really... expensive. As in, way too expensive to happen any time soon kind of expensive.

Besides, aren't you folks already facing severe difficulties just getting any kind of government-funded health system into action?
Yeah. It'll be extremely challenging to get any kind of "social welfare" spending package approved, especially in regards to health care, the way our government has been running.
 

DayDark

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Nasrin said:
In college my friend made the mistake of telling the University that he was severely depressed and considering suicide. They removed him from school and informed him that he would not be welcome back, worsening his depression and eventually resulting in the fulfillment of his death wish. Later I discovered that the school has a policy of removing "at risk" students. They see it as a liability. Better that he killed himself privately, that way they're not responsible.
I'm severely disgusted and angered to read this. What an absolutely appalling policy. ugh!
 

Nimcha

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Dec 6, 2010
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Zhukov said:
"A viable social welfare safety net should include access to a continuum of mental health care, ranging from long-term inpatient hospitalization, to shorter term community inpatient care, to supported residences, to intensive day treatment programs, to outpatient services including psychotherapy and medication. This care should be available to both children and their families, as parents are often stressed and overwhelmed by the task they face."

Okay, obviously I'm no expert, but that sounds really, really, really, really... expensive. As in, way too expensive to happen any time soon kind of expensive.

Besides, aren't you folks already facing severe difficulties just getting any kind of government-funded health system into action?
Such a system already exists in some countries. And yes it is indeed very expensive. Whether it works or not is difficult to determine, but it costs a LOT of money.
 

Mark J Kline

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May 7, 2010
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"Our system goes to great lengths to protect the individual from unwarranted incarceration in a psychiatric facility, but does it do enough to protect the rest of us from people who need to be in a safer place?"

I think the first condition takes precedent over the second, a position society and constitutional law seems to back up.

That being said I have always thought our availability of treatment for mentally ill individuals is woefully inadequate. Even with good insurance, through Kaiser Permanente, the best you could do with the mental health department was one appt. every three weeks. Pitiful. Many, many people in this country have ZERO access to mental health treatment and those people are usually the people who most desperately need it.

I can only hope the Affordable Care Act changes some of this. Mental health is just as important as physical health when it comes to living a healthy and happy life.
 

Worgen

Follower of the Glorious Sun Butt.
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Apr 4, 2020
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Whatever, just wash your hands.
We do still have a place for people with mental illnesses to go here in the states, we call it prison because we are stupid. Allow me to explain, we are more than willing to put money into prisons to punish people who might have done things because of mental illness but we are unwilling to spend less to treat them before hand, partly because we have this weird idea that if we do that then we are enabling them and they are somehow getting something for free but we love to pay to punish people.
 

Mark J Kline

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May 7, 2010
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90sgamer said:
Regarding the last question asked: yes, it appears we can afford to avoid them. How many people die a year in America from mass killings? How many millions of dollars are you willing to spend to avoid that many deaths? How do the above numbers stack up to other avoidable deaths caused by exposure or hunger? Are those kinds of death less or more expensive to prevent than providing universal mental health care? Lastly, of all the mas murderers in America, how many would have been confined to an institution before the murders?
You are making the mistake of assuming that preventing mass killings is the only benefit a society might get out of good mental health care. In reality that, if it is even true, would be only one of the smallest benefits to society.
 

Something Amyss

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Dec 3, 2008
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vxicepickxv said:
It doesn't help that it's hard enough to discuss, but when you realize that proper treatment isn't given, it actually makes it even worse.
Mental Health Care in America really does suck.

It reflects our general attitude towards it, though.