From an article written last August titled, “THE ISSUE IS GUN CONTROL”
“Last Thursday, Representative Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) asserted that we have a “failed mental health system.” He should have said we have a “failed Congress for not addressing gun control.” He was using last Wednesday’s Virginia shootings to promote passage of his own mental health bill, which has serious, if not fatal, deficiencies.
“We need to question Murphy’s logic and motivation very closely. Persons with mental health conditions, just like all individuals, deserve dignity and respect; they should not become the whipping boys for the unwillingness or inability of the Congress to pass national gun control legislation. Neither should the mental health system.
“As many of us have stated repeatedly in broadly diverse venues, the vast, vast majority of people who shoot others are not mentally ill. They may have malicious agendas, and they may be violent and angry, but they are not mentally ill. To assert otherwise simply is incorrect: Violence must not be confused with mental illness. This mislabeling inappropriately assaults the dignity and promotes the stigmatization of those who actually do have mental illness.”
WHO IS RON MANDERSCHEID?
Dr. Ron Manderscheid is one of the most brilliant thinkers on mental health systems I have met. I have read his work for years, learning about his when he was working with SAMHSA. He writes about the need to develop recovery-focused services and systems, about the role peers can plan in mental health and in integrated health care systems, about how we should be thinking about all the changes coming so fast to our system, about the civil rights of citizens who deserve better treatment access and approaches instead of forced outpatient care . . . I could go on.
He is brainy. He is the Director of the National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Directors. He is a leader of the College of Behavioral Health Leadership whose annual summit is a think tank where people from across the country who work in many capacities as well as people who have recovered from severe mental health challenges work hard to collaborate for solutions. This group recently fostered research on peer support compensation but publishes other very timely reports in our field. He loves research and quotes it easily when making his points in presentation. Besides all this, he teaches at Johns Hopkins University!
Dr. Manderscheid is a scholar of the things that matter so much to us who wish to see our fellow citizens offered services that help them heal from their mental health challenges. Yet he is not all brains. He uses his knowledge with heart. He seems to lay out paths with his knowledge to consumer leaders across states, to hospital administrators, to policy makers, to so many in this extremely diverse network of advocate-workers. He is trusted and respected as a comrade whose values are what weave us all together.
To read the rest of this well-reasoned article on the issue of gun violence and mental health politics, check THIS out.