News / Health

Health Experts Ask for New Funds for Mental Health Programs

Health Experts Ask for New Funds for Mental Health Programsi
X
December 21, 2012 12:13 PM
It's not yet known if the 20-year-old man who murdered his mother, then gunned down 20 children and six adults at a Connecticut elementary school was suffering from mental illness, but the tragic incident has sparked a national debate over the quality of psychiatric care in the United States. As VOA's Carol Pearson reports, a coalition of prominent mental health experts is asking President Obama and members of Congress to take immediate action to support nationwide improvements in mental health programs.
Health Experts Ask for New Funds for Mental Health Programs
Carol Pearson
It's not yet known if the 20-year-old man who murdered his mother, then gunned down 20 children and six adults at a Connecticut elementary school was suffering from mental illness, but the tragic incident has sparked a national debate over the quality of psychiatric care in the United States.  A coalition of prominent mental health experts is asking President Obama and members of Congress to take immediate action to support nationwide improvements in mental health programs.

In recent years, the U.S. has been racked by a number of mass shootings.

In Tuscon in 2011, Jared Loughner opened fire outside a grocery store, killing six people, injuring 13.  Then-Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was among the injured.

Last July, 12 people were shot and killed in a Colorado movie theater.   Dozens were wounded.

Mass killings have taken place in California, Wisconsin, Washington state and Minnesota.  After each shooting, those who knew the killers spoke about their expressions of anger, their feelings of isolation, strange behavior or mental illness.

But after the murder of six- and seven-year-olds in Connecticut, many Americans, including President Obama, have called for a review of the U.S. mental health system.

A coalition of mental health and substance abuse experts has written a letter to the president and Congress requesting immediate health policy reforms and new safeguards against random acts of violence.

Psychologist Ron Manderscheid, with the National Association of Counties, leads the coalition. "Only about a third of the people who actually have a mental illness get any care," he noted. "Only 10 percent of people with substance abuse conditions ever get any care."

The letter calls for doubling the capacity of public mental health and substance abuse programs, whose budgets have been sharply cut in recent years.   

It calls for strengthening programs that promote mental health, training teachers and others to recognize signs of mental illness, and providing early help to those who display signs of mental illness.

"What we’ve learned in mental health is that mental health is not only about people with mental illness," Manderscheid stated. "We’ve taken a much broader perspective here that mental health is not only about the community, but about the community and your family and how these things function for you."  

The letter also calls for a ban on semi-automatic assault rifles and large-capacity ammunition clips.

"We think it’s important that we take a position on this and not simply talk about mental health and substance abuse because we view the assault weapons as being a public health problem in the community," explained Manderscheid.

Many gun dealers say sales have spiked in the past few days.

Experts note that people with mental illness are more likely to be the victim of a crime than to commit one. They say the first step toward providing better mental health care in the country is removing the stigma from having a mental illness.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Tony from: wXNlFXPvrSKvLhc
January 16, 2013 1:00 PM
At last! Someone with the insight to solve the pborlem!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid