Comments about ‘'I am Adam Lanza's mother': Writer says it's time to talk about mental illness’

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Published: Monday, Dec. 17 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

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Big Bubba
Herriman, UT

Did the killer's mother own an AR-15?! Did she keep the assault rifle in her home knowing that someone else living with her was mentally ill? Am I the only one has problems with this?

Scranton, PA

I am not certain that armchair quarterbacking with the advantage of hindsight will accomplish anything here. What the writer of this article is saying, is that too many of these kids - mostly boys, apparently - are falling thru' the cracks and getting the wrong treatment or no treatment. As a program services worker for a rescue mission, I encountered several teenagers who fit into this category of mental illness, and they were frightfully similar to "Micheal" in this article. Whether these children come from wealthy families, such as Adam Lanza, or poor or middle class families, these kids need to be identified early and treated early. Unfortunately, some extreme cases may have to be taken out of the home before they harm others or themselves. However, I believe that most of these children are treatable, given proper diagnosis, along with the love and attention that such youngsters need.
One other note: As a Christian, I believe that in at least some of these cases, there may be demonic influences occurring, which merely tend to exasperate any existing medical/mental conditions. Please, do not rule out the power of prayer in the Name of Jesus Christ as part of the treatment.

Third try screen name
Mapleton, UT

@Big Bubba
You are not alone. We're all appalled at that fact.
But I have little confidence in our mental health professionals. We've had numerous local examples of KNOWN mentally ill people out among us who have used a knife or a bomb to kill.
The drugs need careful dosing and, by the admission of the professionals, don't always work.
Here we have a case of an intelligent, middle-class mother who was unable to manage her son. What hope do we have of home care in lesser circumstances.
We need institutions and we need mental healh professionals who can identify the dangerous ones.
Unfortunately, we have neither the political will nor the exxpertise to do that.
Without guns the mayhem will be carried out with gasoline or chainsaws or knives or bombs or...

Layton, UT

Yesterday I gave a blessing to a grandmother who was beaten up by her daughter. She thought she had a concussion, but with no health insurance, medical help is expensive. The grandmother tends her daughter's son and assists with her daughter expenses. I assured her that she did not deserve to be physically abused, though she deeply loves her daughter. I encouraged her to file a police report, because I honestly have no idea what else to do. After the blessing, I rose to leave and my knees buckled. I had this deep abiding desire to help her talk with her daughter and be her advocate. I didn't want to leave her, knowing how many difficult obstacles were before her.

Same day, I helped another sister get to church. She has a son that was just expelled for punching another student. She and her son have been trying to get help for months, begging the school to evaluate him, because of his fits of anger, and she's a single mom, no money, and the schools are not equipped to help her. This article raises important issues, something we need answered.

Eagle Mountain, UT

This is an issue I really hope the legislature takes up this session. The part of the article that got me was that they couldnt do anything unless charges were pressed.

Isn't an ounce of prevention better than a pound of cure? Why do have to let things get to that level before we can intervene?

While there is nothing we can do to prevent every tragedy, we can do something. Think of how many lives can be saved, or at least transformed. While not every child in this situation will end up violently taking the lives of others, we can still help them and make them productive members of society.

There has to be a better solution than locking them up in prison. We don't arrest people for having strokes, so why should mental illness be any different?

Florissant, MO

We have got to stop the attack about guns, that is not the core of this issue. The problem is these young kids, mostly boys who are having a problem far bigger than themselves and even their parents. About three years ago, I approached my step-son about his son possibly having ausbergers, about six months ago he finally said, maybe he has this. But he still is not doing anything to help this young man. When a person breaks a leg, they get instant treatment and physical therapy, many times that leg will become stronger then it was before. When a person is mentally broken, they need to get treatment and therapy and learn to take their weakness and let it become a strength. I have another step-son who has ODD, ADHD and Ausbergers, he is a wonderful person, not always been that way, but he had a mother that really understood him and helped him to develop, he now has a great wife that has helped him a lot. He also grew up in a home with loaded guns and was taught to respect them and keep his hands off them. And they did, all five kids.

Lehi, Ut

Those who hold ownership of these weapons should be held much more accountable. Just like if someone gives a wmd to a terrorist that person will be accountable. The guns are not the problem, its people leaving them around for there mentally ill kids to use on purpose or by accident. This story mentions video games. Its time to ban or control the use of violent video games, just like we do with drugs and alcohol.

Calif granny

In the 1980s, under the Reagan administration, funding for mental health was severely cut. The gates and doors of the institutions opened and many who emotionally could not care for themselves were freed. Many were Vietnam vets who were severely emotionally damaged. I too live with a son who has had emotional issues. Incarceration meant being put on psychotic meds that were never monitored to see what effects they were having. Once such an individual is no longer a minor, a parent's hands are tied. Laws were put into effect that had unintended consequences keeping parents and family members from knowing what meds if any their loved should be taking on a regular basis. My son for now is doing well but there have been times when my other grown children have feared for my safety and life. There have been years that if a week went by without a threat it was a rarity. We're told a Mother's love has no bounds and I believe that and try to live it. Unfortunately, it also puts a strain on other family relationships as well. I pray our President will address our Country's mental health issues.

Cottonwood Heights, UT

Where's his father?

Salt Lake City, UT

This mother's article is right on point.

Although our resources for physical illness are the best in the world, when it comes to mental illness we are still in the stone age. It's a mystery to treat, even with medications. Our emphasis should be on proper recognition and treatment of the illness.

Gainesville, VA

I know several people with similar circumstances. One such family opted to turn the custody of their child over to the state because of the risk he was imposing on the entire family and possibly other persons. I don't know what it means to give custody to the state - maybe it is the mental health units that are being run but I don't think it involved a prison. I have no answers. Just my sympathy for a very painful situation.

Salt Lake City, UT

Wow. I really appreciate this article. I don't know any kids that act this way towards their parents. I feel like a lucky parent now.

We need to find a way to help parents in this situation. They've basically identified the problem kids already. I can't believe that there aren't any programs to help. There's no way any parents could handle this kind of situation solely within the family.

I don't have any answers, but we definitely need to help parents in this kind of situation.

pocatello, ID

There used to be places where children and adults with mental illness were put to live out their lives without risk to the rest of society. These place have largely been done away with as being a cruel way to treat mentally ill people. It is time to realize that sometimes it is better to have places where mentallly ill people are placed where they can't harm themselves or others. Too many are returned to their homes with medication that doesn't work or they refuse
to take. It is time to lock some mentally people up for the safety of the rest of us.

Far East USA, SC

"He also grew up in a home with loaded guns and was taught to respect them and keep his hands off them."

That is great. Kids should be taught that.

And then those guns should be locked up.

Adults that leave loaded guns unlocked and accessible to children should be prosecuted if the child hurts themselves or someone else.

Southern, UT

The person who did this crime was an adult. You can not force an adult to get help. Our laws in the U.S. make it difficult to put an adult under care due to the possiblility that they could harm someone...until they actually do. There was a time in the U.S. where mentally old adults were regularly declared incompetent. Which is better? Locking up a lot of people for safety or allowing all the right to freedom.

Saint George, UT

As an avid sportsman I own many guns and enjoy hunting, sport-shooting, and target shooting. I believe hand guns serve an important role in self-defense and should be legal. I am completely against assault rifles. I believe the only individuals who should own and use them are police and military. We need an aggressive assault rifle ban for all others.

School doors should be locked. Lanza alerted the principle as soon as he shot out the front door to make entry. The principle further bought time as she confronted Lanza in the hall way. This allowed teachers to immdiately begin lock-down procedures, which saved lives. 3

And more importantly we need to address mental health issues. This article is well written and right on target. We may not be able to completely stop mass murders but we can limit them. Every life saved is worth our efforts.

West Jordan, UT

People here are calling for the President or the government to enact some kind of legislation to help mentally ill people. I would like to know which program you want to cut to enact this. Education? Military? Medicare? Medicade? Social Security? At some point the American people have got to stop looking to the government to rectify the problems in their life and take control themselves.

South Jordan, UT

This article points out the elephant in the room: Most often the problem isn't the gun; it is mental health. But because we as a society are not comfortable discussing it, or paying for it, or living with it, we claim we have a gun problem. Lock up the guns and it will become a knife problem, because we aren't addressing the real problem.

Third try screen name
Mapleton, UT

I would not want to live in a world where safeguards are in place to prevent any possible evil.
Do you really want armed guards and electronic screening (and maybe a strip-search now and then) to enter an elementary school? Or a theater? Or a shopping mall?
Not me.
From therapy to dosing to predicting violent behavior our mental health professionals are ill-equipped to handle the Adam Lanzas of the world.
And we surely are not willing to create new state mental hospitals.
That leaves the politicians to dabble in gun control to appear to be doing something. I'd prefer they do nothing.

Hostage in our Home
Sandy, UT

Only someone who lives with mental illness can understand the frustration and fear that comes with it. We have dealt with this for over ten years, where you never know when the threats and violence are coming. The police have been called many times, for a "mental health check."
Every time our son who is almost 30 is transported to the hospital, only to be released when HE determines it is time. People with these disorders refuse to stay on their prescribed medications, and the cycle continues. I feel it is a life sentence without possibility of parole. I've read articles about "mental health court", but have been through the legal process with our son with no positive results.
It seems that our court system is there, just to justify their jobs, and provides no real help to these people. Is there nothing available to help families who are captive in their own homes?

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