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How Do We Deal with the Violently Mentally Ill?

TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston Registered User Posts: 15,599 Senior Member
In my town this morning. 23 year old man stabbed a 22 year old woman apparently at random in the town library. She died and a 77 year old man was also stabbed.

The guy had been acting violently for years, terrorizing the neighbors. He had been arrested before for threats but was still on the streets.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2018/02/24/two-people-are-stabbed-winchester-public-library-police-say/AAdQG9tamEllmNpKNIhMUN/story.html
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Replies to: How Do We Deal with the Violently Mentally Ill?

  • greenwitchgreenwitch Registered User Posts: 8,646 Senior Member
    I'm not sure what the procedure is to get someone involuntarily committed, but I'm sure it's not an easy one. And there isn't always space for people, which seems like something that should be addressed. Remember when the former VA gubernatorial candidate tried to get his son committed a few years ago? He was given the run around by the state hospital system and his son acted out violently, attacked his father, and then shot himself. Hopefully, that sad incident has led to some reforms.

    https://www.cnn.com/2014/01/26/politics/creigh-deeds-attack/index.html
  • rosered55rosered55 Registered User Posts: 4,288 Senior Member
    We do not deal well with mentally ill people, violent or not. Between inadequate understanding of mental illness and insufficient resources for mental health services, law enforcement, and the justice system, stuff like this continues to happen. It seems like it shouldn't. There have been some horrifying incidents in Wisconsin in recent years, too, such as a man who decapitated his mother, with whom, it is thought, he had as good a relationship as he did with anyone.
  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn Super Moderator Posts: 39,309 Super Moderator
    When I was in high school, I attended a piano performance workshop at UT and took lessons from Danielle Martin, a wonderful professor and pianist. Years later, I was shocked to see a headline on AOL - she had taken a troubled graduate student into her house and he had killed her. He thought she had a chip embedded in her head that needed to be taken out. :(
  • magtf1magtf1 Registered User Posts: 388 Member
    Social stigma is a huge challenge with our nation's mental healthcare system. People refuse to seek treatment or refer their friends and loved ones for treatment. We need a focused campaign to change society's perception. We've seen past successes with increasing the use of seat belts, reducing drunk driving, and reducing smoking. Certainly we need everyone to be able to access effective mental health care, but until we reduce the stigma of seeking such care it will remain behind closed doors.
  • yourmommayourmomma Registered User Posts: 1,314 Senior Member
    edited February 2018


    Probably need more mental hospitals and facilities. Seems we have shuttered many. More engagement. Many are homeless as well.
  • JustaMomJustaMom Registered User Posts: 2,731 Senior Member
    I believe it goes hand in hand with universal healthcare. Provide healthcare for all and deal with the health issues.
  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston Registered User Posts: 15,599 Senior Member
    @JustaMom If you look at the Canadian media you will see that mental health care is just as inaccessible as in the US. If they manage to get treatment it is free of course. There have been many violent incidents committed by the mentally ill there too.
  • MassmommMassmomm Registered User Posts: 3,897 Senior Member
    @TomSrOfBoston , that is horrific! It hits way too close to home for me, as we used to live in Lexington, and have several friends in Winchester. And I have a 22 year old daughter who hangs out in libraries.:(

    I don't know what can be done. My nephew, who is autistic and is prone to violence, is on all kinds of medication to keep him stable. But unlike many others who are violent and mentally ill, my nephew has a supportive family who oversee his care. Others may lack resources, or are in denial.

    Though it is no consolation to the young woman's family, I am relieved that the man was only armed with a knife. Many more people could have been killed if he'd had a firearm.
  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston Registered User Posts: 15,599 Senior Member
    @Massmomm But if someone stops taking their medication there is virtually no way to force him/her to take them.

    Both this and the Parkland incident were not cases of someone suddenly snapping and killing people. Both men had numerous run ins with the police and the "warning signs" were evident to everyone. Yet they were still able to walk freely.
  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston Registered User Posts: 15,599 Senior Member
    @JustaMom For those not familiar with the sociogeography of the Boston area Winchester is an affluent town and lack of health insurance is not the issue. The call for universal health care to solve this problem is a naïve but popular mantra that is irrelevant to these situations, as @WISdad23 points out.
  • TatinGTatinG Registered User Posts: 6,399 Senior Member
    A former state hospital in the next county is now a community college. People who used to be involuntarily commited are now wandering the streets. Many are homeless and are a threat to primarily other homeless people. A recent survey of why ridership is dropping on the bus and rail system found that people don't want to share the space with ranting, raving, and sometimes worse mentally ill people, or take the risk of being attacked. It's a huge problem.
  • momofthreeboysmomofthreeboys Registered User Posts: 16,677 Senior Member
    It is a huge conundrum.
This discussion has been closed.