Broken Heart - Newtown Connecticut Shooting
Creative Commons License photo credit: damn_unique

It’s time for the discussion. Then horrifying events on Friday in Newtown, Connecticut have pushed it upon us. It’s time for people to start talking frankly and honestly about mental health treatment in our country.

I’ve shed tears, I’m sure you have, too. I’ve been consumed with thoughts of my own kids in their schools. I’ve wondered what would have happened if that were my town. I hear the chatter on the news and from all the leaders in Washington. Lots of talk about guns and school security, but so far not much talk about mental health.

Despite the relative lack of media discussion, I have seen many individuals bring up the issue. That is a very good thing. Parents of individuals with mental health or special needs like autism are speaking out.

They’re trying to set people straight about the differences between mental illness and the autism spectrum. They’re trying to help people understand what they go through. People are calling out for more discussion on it in a grassroots sort of way.

I think it’s relevant to discuss guns and security, but we’d be truly remiss if we ignored this young man’s family and personal issues. We don’t know many facts yet, but appears there was significant isolation (self-imposed or otherwise), a history of school difficulties, and perhaps some real treatment gaps with this young man.

Was his mother adequately supported through all this? Did she have a good treatment plan and back-up plan for problems? How many roadblocks and frustrations did she face along the way?

Don’t misinterpret my questions as blame on his mother. Quite the contrary. I hope people ask questions to see where more could have been done. I hope people clear up misunderstandings and break through some barriers in their own minds. I hope that the stigma starts to honestly and truly break down enough that we can actually get to the meat of these matters with real solutions that really help.

Enough with the judgment, the single-issue solutions, the ignorance. Let’s finally talk about this.