Addressing the issue of mental illness and violence



Our hearts have been saddened in recent weeks with the terrible tragedy in Sandy Hook, Conn. The event has sparked much dialogue in the media and in our communities about this event.

Government leaders, school districts personnel, psychologists, newspaper and news media professionals and religious leaders have discussed excellent ways to prevent such tragedies from happening in the future.

The truth is, we need to recognize and address reasons for and solutions to our nation’s violence in our homes, our communities, our states and nationally.

As a retired educator, a local government official and a practicing Christian, I believe the issue of violence must be addressed in multiple ways starting in our homes.

It’s sad to think that in too many families across this nation teenage mental illnesses go undiagnosed or untreated because there is an underlying feeling of guilt and shame associated with acknowledging there are such illnesses in those families.

Likewise, too many families and individuals believe they can remedy those illnesses without professional help. Lack of financial resources and adequate health insurance coverage complicate the matter.

Realize there are ways to get needed help once people acknowledge and notice gradual or sudden changes in behavior that signal some mental health issue, and that left untreated, minor mental problems can become more complicated and harder to treat.

The answer to curbing violence in our country is not better gun control. Unless one has been adjudicated as having some kind of mental illness, purchasing guns is not prohibited.

Guns are not biodegradable and will be around for generations to come even if legislation to limit them becomes law tomorrow. The value of precious human life is ignored when someone commits a crime with a gun.

One thing I know for sure is God can’t prevent tragedies such as the one in Connecticut from happening, because they are acts of human free will. My faith tells me that He was with the adults and the children whose lives were cut short and that He wept, too.

It is important that faith and religious values be part of the conversations about ways to curb mass tragedies in the future. Christians know that a faith-based life guides them through all life experiences.

Dick Patterson

Corry, Pa.

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  1. You really provide no ideas to resolving the problem Dick. Why did you waste time even writing this article.
    Sure we can regulate weapon ownership. Why not? It’s our duty as a society.
    We can also provide better mental health screening and treatment. This also a cost effective process.
    Citizens like yourself who throw up theirs hands in fear of confronting the causes and immediately surrender to bullies should be ignored and removed from the problem solving discussion.
    We can and will solve the murder of innocent people if at all possible. Our resolve to do so is also our duty!


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