Shootings expose flaws in mental health system

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  • Say No to BO Mapleton, UT
    Oct. 2, 2012 6:08 p.m.

    Kennedy's plan was a rush job. There weren't community mental health centers, only a few plans. But the states were glad to empty the mental hospitals and turn over the financial liability for them. It is the very definition of unintended consequences.
    It isn't really about money. We're using the nursing homes now. That's a pricey alternative.
    We need mental hospitals. Some bristle at that, thinking of the human warehouses of the past. But we need inexpensive alternatives to the present situation.
    My problem is trust. Government can't possibly do it right. So who can?

  • John C. C. Payson, UT
    Oct. 2, 2012 11:01 a.m.

    President Kennedy's stated purpose when he proposed moving the mentally ill out of federal institutions was that they would go to neighborhood treatment centers where they would be treated more humanely. During the next 15 years or so, his proposal was followed up on and hordes of mentally ill were transferred to local facilities. Unfortunately, for most of them that meant prisons, homeless centers, back alleys, parks, and cemeteries.

    We need to rethink how many of our "perpetrators" are, in fact, victims of our neglect. Are local governments willing or able to treat the mentally ill? Does the Affordable Care Act offer any potential solutions?

    They are entitled to better care.

  • Third try screen name Mapleton, UT
    Oct. 2, 2012 7:49 a.m.

    These high-profile cases make the news because they involve mainstream people. When you have a hostage situation in Cottonwood Heights or a bomber on the Trax platform, you take notice.
    But violence is common among the homeless in the slum areas. You glance at it on the back pages when you read of a stabbing or someone getting an ear bitten off. No big deal.
    But committing them is only part of the equation. Someone committed is likely to be sent to a nursing home to live next to gramps. That makes no sense. Just another costly failure of the village.