Saturday, November 22, 2014

nami States, communities need to find funding for mental health

Posted on Dec. 27, 2012 at 12:00 a.m.

We extend our deepest sympathies to all involved in the Connecticut shooting.

We must realize that as of the day this was written, it has not been determined why the shooter did what he did. Was it primarily a mental illness or mainly other factors like drugs or alcohol?

The National Alliance on Mental Illness thinks it is important for people to realize that there is only a very small and weak link between serious mental illness and violent behavior. Those living with serious mental illnesses are much more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators. In some very serious cases, people living with intense symptoms of serious mental illnesses, without access to treatment, can become gravely disabled or a danger to themselves or others.

To prevent the negative impacts on individuals, families, and communities we need to increase leadership and funding at the state and local levels for an integrated system of care for those with mental illnesses. Due in part to the financial situation of the federal government, this job should be the responsibility of the states and local institutions. Fundraising for mental health should become an important local priority. The system should include the mental health treatment systems, criminal justice, courts, housing providers, and emergency rooms. It should take into account co-occurring disorders like substance abuse and developmental disorders, and ideally be available to people regardless of income.

This is a tall order, but states need to reverse the trend toward less funding for mental health. People need treatment, and there must be no wrong door.

NAMI has been working toward better mental health education and care for years. Join us and make a difference! Our website is namielkhart.org.

Charlotte Fletcher

NAMI of Elkhart County