Newell Normand: Our mental health system is failing

Newell Normand
November 08, 2017 - 9:06 pm

The Texas church shooter escaped from a mental hospital in 2012. If mental health issues are behind many of these mass shootings, what is the state of the mental health system?  Where are the cracks in the foundation?

Check out Newell Normand's HOT TAKES:

  • As you look at this shooter, you can check off almost every box as it relates to indicators that there would be a problem and that there would be an incident like the one that we had. It wasn't a question of if, it was a question of when.
  • We always seem to be having the battle over dollars for mental health. The one of the first things to get whacked out of the budget is mental health funding. That puts a lot of stress on the system. The true irony of the situation is that this is very law-abiding segment of the population when we have appropriate funding. When we don't have appropriate funding, we have issues.
  • One of the reasons that mental health is always at the top of the chopping block is that they don't have as many advocates for that popuplation up there calling for the necessity of funding. Many of these people can't help themselves because of the predicament they find themselves in. And when we don't have adequate funding, there are trickle down effects for the entire community.
  • In a lot of these mass shootings and other shock-the-conscience type tragedies, we find this mental health component staring us in the face. The science behind this is very, very strong.
  • Of course we get a text saying: “Black man commits murder, lock him up. Muslim man runs over 10 people, lock him up. White man kills 50, must be mental illness. This is not a race-baiting issue. We have heard about this mental health component in a number of these shootings. The issue here is an impaired mental health delivery system and what can some of the outcomes be. It's about the state of the system. Stop staring the obvious in the face and walking right around it.
  • These are things that, in many cases, the mentally ill can't help. The barriers set up from health insurance and from Congress. Congress has basically set up two standards for health.
  • Effectively, what they've said is the mentally ill are less deserving than others because of the limitations on the money that can be spent and the programs that can be provided to help.
  • This has downstream effects for our communities, for our homes that we want to be safe. We have to come to grips with this situation one way or another; and I think we're failing. In my experience with jails, 70% of the people in jails have an addiction or a mental disorder.

If mental health issues are behind many of these mass shootings - Where are the cracks in the foundation?

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