Psychiatrist offers ways to help stop the horror. Boston.
“As the horror of the
“All the gunmen in the recent shootings had active and untreated psychiatric disorders at the time they committed the acts. Lack of mental-health funding (conservatives) and weak commitment laws (liberals) prevent adequate care. I prematurely released two psychotic, paranoid patients with access to weapons recently for this reason. I could, tragically, do nothing else. It is common sense that some of these people will commit violent crimes. Three decades ago, this would never have happened,” Malone says.
Malone identifies 4 ways to deal with the societal risks:
• Stop the Guns vs. Mental Health Debate. One does not negate the other. Over 300 million firearms exist in the
• Take Charge of Your Family. The best predictor of violence is past violence except in young adult males with a serious psychotic illness.
• Identify Those at Risk. Sociopaths and hard drug users are traditional criminals and not hard to identify. Psychiatric patients present no greater risks to the general population, with the exception of young adult males with a paranoid psychotic illness. And often, teachers, friends, and neighbors identified these kids as “odd.” These individuals must be assessed by a trained person, preferably a psychiatrist, to determine dangerousness. Of course, access to care and commitment laws are the impediment.
• Restore Funding to Treat Psychiatric Patients. Treating psychiatric patients is utilitarian in saving money now spent on police work and prisons, as well as being the decent path. It would likely prevent some, if not most, of these tragedies. Perhaps it is time to put aside stigma and follow the known science in this field. Let’s hope the next White House summit will be on mental health! In the meantime, we can all wait for the next event.
“We can stop the violence now by attending to mental-health issues,” Malone says.
About Dr. Gary Malone, M.D. & Susan Mary Malone
Dr. Gary Malone is an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the
Award-winning writer and editor Susan Mary Malone is the author of the novel, “By the Book,” and three nonfiction books, including “Five Keys for Understanding Men: A Women’s Guide.” More than 40 of the book projects she has edited were purchased by traditional publishing houses. She is Dr. Malone’s sister.