Better access to mental health care in the US

I’m not disagreeing that gun control is something we really need to do right now, but I’d argue that the abysmal access to mental health services in the U.S. could also be addressed through public policy and could make a difference here as well.

Because people who suffer from mental illness are more likely to be the victims of violent crime?

That is a good point.


I’m not suggesting anyone involved was mentally ill, but that we’d benefit from having services that help people deal with this kind of uncontrolled rage.

The vast majority of mass shooters in the US never sought mental health services in the first place, let alone found themselves turned away.


Totally agree. But the lack of services, the lack of coverage to pay for them, and the general stigmatization of seeking help certainly isn’t going to encourage anyone to look for help if they wanted to.

I don’t want to derail this into an extended discussion of mental health. We still need to enact strong gun control. But we can do more than one thing. (Well, history tells us that we can’t even do one thing, but we can keep trying.)

1 Like

Ding! Ding! Ding!
We have a winner!

They’re crazy (and therefore not really responsible)

Love the way that excuse always gets trotted out.
Not that we don’t desperately need real mental health care, but it’s not what’s causing the shootings. It’s mostly used to draw attention away from the racism, misogyny, guns, and so on which are outside the Overton window


I’m confident I haven’t excused anything. Or suggested anyone isn’t responsible. Or even suggested that the shooter is mentally ill. Just that we could do other things that could have an impact in addition to gun control.

I’ve been affected by gun violence firsthand. Gun control is absolutely needed, but there are a lot of other things we need to do as well. I’d settle for just gun control, though.


I don’t think that’s what mototom is saying. I think they are saying that American society is pretty broken in terms of mental health care (among other things). That maybe with adequate mental health care and preventative mental health care, the shooters who do this wouldn’t be able to get to the point of killing and hurting people. If we had good mental health care and managed to de-stigmatize therapy, maybe the people who knew this shooter would have had the resources to speak up and get him either help or get him contained. I don’t think he was crazy, or even mentally ill, but there was definitely something really wrong with him. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have hurt and killed people.
Mental health care isn’t just for crazy people. Most people could really use some good therapy. Maybe if the shooter was given good mental health care in elementary school, middle school, or high school he would have had the cognitive and emotional tools he needed to either never go out killing or turn himself in before he did. Yeah, most of the shooters who do this don’t seem to have ever sought out mental health care- but what if they had been made to as students? Or if it was so normal to visit therapists, that everyone did so, just to feel normal? Or if the other people in his life had some way to voice their concerns about him without going to the police first?
I don’t want to say these shooters are mentally ill. We don’t know and, you’re right, it is incredibly unhelpful to chalk up horrendous actions to mental illness. Most people with mental illness, including me, go their entire lives without hurting someone. But something was wrong with this man.

Edited to add: We also need serious gun control. But gun control won’t solve the problem- it might make sure fewer people die. Make it a little less easy.
The mass murder at Kyoto Animation, the times cars have been used to kill in Europe, the mass-knifing elsewhere show us that guns aren’t the only way mass killings can happen.


Except that you kinda have. Immediately suggesting that mental illness is the problem in this shooting, which you just did, you draw attention away from everything else. Doing it in the absence of any evidence it was a factor just serves to needlessly stigmatize the mentally ill to no good purpose


Again, I haven’t once suggested that the person here was mentally ill. As Kii says quite well, mental health services aren’t just for the mentally ill.

I simply disagreed with the statement that the only thing public policy could address was gun control.

I’m done arguing about things I haven’t said.


Then implying that mental illness is a major driver of mass shootings probably isn’t a good place to start.


I’m not using it as a derailment strategy. We do need gun control, desperately. But we also need more than that. A lot more.

1 Like

We need universal healthcare and clean energy and student debt relief and a thousand other things, but none of those topics are directly relevant to a discussion of why the US is such an outlier when it comes to mass shootings.

The relevant topic is access to dangerous firearms.


Agree 100%. And I hope I don’t take a lot of flack for this, but sincerely want to have this conversation with the bb group, because, well, you’re the best.
So, I brought up the gun issue with my (conservative) neighbor, and he says, “There are just too many of them out there. They can’t be registered like cars, they’re too easily hidden.”
And I say, “but we have to start somewhere. Let’s just start, and get as far as we can with restricting access, registering, taxing ammunition, whatever people who know more than me about this think is the best way to go.”
BUT, and here’s where I’m interested in learning from this group - isn’t economic inequality a part of it? Not at all to derail the gun access discussion, but would reducing economic inequality make meaningful reductions in gun violence while we let new policies work toward reducing access and getting existing firearms off the streets/out of the homes?

(edited to fix typo)

It’s a real problem, but it’s not the reason the US is such an outlier when it comes to mass shootings. Lots of countries have the same issues with economic inequality that we do, but none have these kinds of mass shootings on a regular basis.


But do any of them already have SO many guns already in the hands of private citizens? Has anyone else put themselves in this position and pulled back from the brink?
Again - I am totally NOT arguing against controlling access. I’d like to additionally address our horrific starting point right now. And, as a bonus, maybe get some good points to raise with my neighbor next time. He is one of the only very conservative folks around here I’ve found willing to engage in conversation about this type of stuff.

1 Like

Not really. We have the highest wealth and income inequality in the developed world and worse thdn many poorer countries.

1 Like

Closest precedent I can think of is Australia in 1996. We’re a lot farther gone than they were at the time but better to start late than not at all.


So much this. I feel like the opposite is where my neighbor starts, as if it’s already too late, let’s throw in the towel.

But I also get the sense that his idea is a fairly common one, and want to be able to respond. I haven’t checked it out yet, but thanks for the lead.


If income inequality was the main driver for mass shootings then most of the perpetrators would be poor people of color instead of middle-class white guys.