Yesterday, twenty-seven people were savagely butchered in an elementary school in Connecticut at the hands of a someone suffering from a severe mental illness. The details of the incident are sketchy, but as they leak out, the very prominent fact that this atrocity was visited upon innocent children and their adult caretakers due to a failure of our society is undeniable.
While others are mourning the loss of lives, I am angry at the inadequacy of our mental health care system. I am furious at politicians who have chipped away at funds earmarked for the diagnosis and treatment of the mentally ill. I am beyond frustrated by constantly having to justify mental illness as a physical illness which requires medical treatment. I am literally sickened by the inexcusable attitude of healthcare practitioners who are undereducated or lack education altogether about the myriad forms of a legitimate disease that is swept under society's carpet...just as it was over a century ago. Some forms of mental illness kills; not only through suicide by the individual, but by other means which makes it a matter of public health. Pretending that someone else is "okay" when it is clear they aren't is nothing short of criminal negligence.
I am tired of those in the "helping" professions which are supposedly responsible for the oversight and welfare of those who are the least able among us to care for themselves begging off with," What do you want us to do?" Grow some fucking cojones, step up and be responsible, that's what I want you to do. That includes families who choose to use the worn cop-out, " We can't make choices for him".
Let me tell you something: When your troubled 'loved one' or client becomes the next Adam Lanza, or Jared Loughner, or James Holmes or Eric Harris or Dylan Klebold, and all you have done is thrown your hands up in frustration, those hands will have just as much blood on them as the one who loaded the bullets into the gun. Or maybe you'll just be the first of many to die.
You wouldn't let frustration with the healthcare or the court system get in your way if the one you cared about were suffering from a 'tangible disease' such as cancer and was mentally unstable and unable to make realistic decisions about their personal welfare. The fact is that an individual's right to self -determination ends when his/her behavior and choices become a dangerous threat to their own welfare and that of the public. Lack of responsibility for proper mental healthcare is a public health issue, period...and we had better become accountable before the next tragedy occurs.