The Sandy Hook shooting in Connecticut happened almost two weeks ago. The sorrow and implications of the fatal occurrence have not left the minds of most Americans.
In fact, experts have been debating over the possibility of preventing future shootings. The topic of mental illness has become most prominent in this discussion, and experts are pondering how mental health care could potentially factor into prevention of future shootings.
Gallup conducted a poll on Dec. 18, 2012, asking how effective people thought different solutions would be in preventing future mass school shootings. The most effective solutions were “increasing the police presence at schools,” and “increased gov’t spending on mental health screening and treatment.”
One columnist for the Christian Science Monitor suggested that there needs to be more of a focus on preventing and addressing mental health issues and social isolation, which both can contribute to mass shootings in his opinion.
Dr. David Sack, an addiction psychiatrist and CEO of Promises Treatment Centers, said in an email that he agrees better mental health care will gradually lead to less violence among the population of people with mental illnesses.
“Better community based mental health services are desperately needed and will decrease the number of mentally ill who go without treatment,” Sack said.
“Over time this will improve the integration of persons with mental illnesses into society, and decrease the risks that come from being marginalized and ostracized. Appropriate treatment reduces the risk of violent behavior.”
Tina B. Tessina, a psychotherapist and author, said in an email that stricter gun laws and greater access to mental health care could prevent future shootings problems.
“I know how difficult it is to get care for a dangerous person who refuses care,” Tessina said.
“We need to adjust the law on that ... I have worked with a number of parents of dangerous minors, and getting care for them is very difficult, expensive and emotionally painful.”