WASHINGTON DC -– Having stumbled on gun control, President Barack Obama on Monday called for a national dialogue on mental illness – a campaign touched off by last year’s massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.
Speaking at the beginning of a day-long White House conference on the issue, Obama said the time has come to bring mental illness “out of the shadows.”
“I want to make sure people aren’t suffering,” he said.
In the course of the contentious debate leading up to the state’s enactment of tough new gun laws earlier this year, gun advocates argued that gun violence is a mental health problem, not a gun control problem. State lawmakers, with the support and encouragement of Governor Dannel P. Malloy, concluded that it wasn’t really an either/or proposition and passed legislation that called for both gun control and mental health initiatives.
In an effort that grew out of personal experience, advice from experts and the stories parents told in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the head of the legislature’s Committee on Children Monday unveiled a proposal aimed at making it easier for families to access mental health services for children.
Vincent J. Russo, manager of communications and intergovernmental relations for the Office of the Probate Court Administrator of Connecticut has issued an announcement that the Probate Courts “expect to complete work this summer on a new database for use by state and federal authorities in checking the mental health backgrounds of citizens who seek to buy or own firearms.”
In a major effort to educate the public on the importance of linking data together regarding 31 school shootings and/or school-related acts of violence and their association with psychiatric drugs, a national parent rights organization, Ablechild, will host a forum on mental health and the importance of informed consent.
Guns don’t kill people. People kill people. People kill people quite rapidly with certain well-appointed guns. In realizing this, Connecticut’s legislature turned its back on the NRA hard line that there should be no limits on the efficient lethality machined into a gun, because guns are benign just sitting there in the gun case. Of course, they are also designed with stocks, grips, recoil reduction and other innovations to make them easy to pick up and use, sometimes by the wrong people.
Everything we know about resilience tells us that it grows best in our relationships with others. Resilience is that special ability to spring back from adversity. It’s a word also used to describe how we can become stronger as a result of the struggles in life. I was at the diner the other day with some friends. We were talking about our kids and how they were doing since 12/14 and how they can be more resilient. After several minutes of my friends talking, here is how the conversation went.
Mental health professionals know that traumatic events occupy our minds, quite literally, in ways that can derail lives and stress families at their foundations. And when the trauma is as horrible and incomprehensible as the 12/14 shootings at the Sandy Hook School, the long-term impact on individuals, families, and even the community can be particularly acute.
Jill Barron, MD, MHS, has been quietly ramping up plans to conduct a critical needs assessment of mental health and support response since arriving in Newtown in late February. But the experienced trauma specialist who worked with New York firefighters post 9/11 made her first local public appearance, receiving an official welcome when she was introduced to the Board of Selectmen March 18.