People are quick to say, guns don’t kill people: People kill people. If this is true, then where is the call to help the people? In the wake of this tragedy in Connecticut, I am glad that some are talking about a need for better mental health services. It is foolish to lay blame in only one area for the actions of this disturbed individual, however one piece of the equation to address is the brokenness of our mental health system. By doing this, we would be focusing closer to the root of the issue and not simply focusing on the symptoms of the problem. What can I do about this you may ask? Here are steps that we as citizens, mental health professionals, and caring individuals can do to spark a change.
1) Write government representatives on the state and national level. We have to stop cutting mental health funding.
2) If you are a mental health professional, join an association that lobbies on our behalf. There is power in numbers.
3) Recognize symptoms in your self and in others and seek help.
4) Recognize that we all need to practice good mental health and provide an environment where that is a priority.
5) Understand that shaming or ostracizing mental health issues only perpetuates the problem. We need to exercise empathy and compassion.