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BOOSTER SHOTS: Oddities, musings and news from the
health world

Talk(ed) Back: Your thoughts on violence and mental illness

January 17, 2011|By Tami Dennis, Tribune Health

This weekend's Talk Back post posed these questions in the wake of the Tucson shootings and the subsequent discussions about the stigma of mental illness and how to prevent violence:

"So what to do? Make commitment easier? Provide more treatment earlier? At this point, all suggestions are welcome....

And when it comes to stigma, would such measures help, or hurt?"

Here we offer some highlights from the responses. (The original Saturday post can be found earlier in the Booster Shots blog, but because the blog and thus the discussions appear on many sites, we'll forgo a direct link to that post.)

On the L.A. Times comment board, Moonshyne7 wrote in part:
"I believe treatment of the mentally ill needs to combine a social network factor familiar with recognizing the symptoms to ensure continued success with treatment, along with a program designed to boost the self esteem of individuals newly diagnosed with mental illness."

And DoreenMeyer wrote: "We're a very judgemental society, and when others disagree with us we ostracize, alienate, or kill. Those of us who are not mentally ill (or so we think) behave this way -- how can we expect the mentally ill to 'escape' this same cultural fate?"

On the South Florida Sun-Sentinel comment board, argy.bargy2 wrote: "The irony is, Arizona has one of the strongest involuntary commitment laws of all the states. Florida's 'Baker Act' allows for both voluntary and involuntary temporary admission to a mental facility for observation, diagnosis and treatment. The involuntary admission lasts for 72 hours, followed by a court hearing to determine if a treatment plan is needed. Meanwhile, therapists (not pundits) are observing behavior and medication can be provided to try to bring dangerous symptoms under control. There are protections supposedly built into the law so unscrupulous relatives can't force an aging wealthy person into a facility so they can run off with their money."

And in a rebuke (perhaps beside the point, perhaps not) that editors and other users of precise language can appreciate, HaroldAMaio wrote:

"Reduction to a 'the' is a regular tool of disinformation, 'the' Blacks suffered under it for generations here, 'the' Jews suffered under it to industrial extreme under Nazism. Various forms remain popular in this nation, 'the' mentally ill, that generic group, is one such form. It is highly popular. I shudder when I see it. Most editors do not."

You're right, HaroldAMaio. Thank you. And thanks to all giving such topics the serious consideration they warrant.

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