Role of disclosure laws in preventing life-saving mental health treatment

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  • jrgl CEDAR CITY, UT
    Dec. 22, 2012 3:17 p.m.

    "The unfortunate truth is that the mentally ill commit a disproportionately high amount of crime"
    Please Mr. Griffin, give us the studies or statistics that back up this statement. Unfortunately, this is a myth that the mentally ill commit a disproportional amount of crime. The truth is that the mentally ill commit crimes at a no higher rate than the general population (Archives of General Psychology). This myth is in high gear right now as the nation deals with this unfortunate tragedy & create stigma against the mentally ill. I work with the mentally ill & the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill(NAMI). I notice you are a professor of Economics at SUU, so you probably haven't dealt with the mentally ill on a personal basis or understand what they deal with in your community. Southern Utah has an excellent community mental health service center. Right now emotions are high and the mentally ill seem to be the first to blame which only increases stigma.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Dec. 22, 2012 10:30 a.m.

    CME, I understood the article. It's true that there probably can never be PROOF that a psych professional could take to use in a warning to others that a client might be dangerous. No proof, that is, until after the massacre.

    But unless we have a way for professionals to share concerns with appropriate others, there will be no adequate safeguards against those who might do harm.

    If a client expresses violent thoughts coupled with use of weapons -- and many do -- the professional's hands should not be tied. Nor should law enforcement be prevented from taking action following appropriate due process. In other words, involve the courts.

    There HAVE to be ways to solve this problem.

    The NRA's "solutions" are not solutions at all.

    As a nation, we must somehow find the will and intelligence to look beyond what is easy and tackle the really hard stuff.

  • timpClimber Provo, UT
    Dec. 22, 2012 8:59 a.m.

    Mentally ill suggests that the person so labeled is not thinking or acting in a rational manner. It also means that those who work with these people have to help the person and to help protect the public from their irrational behavior. I've been haunted for years by the knowledge that I knew that one of my high school students had an abnormal fixation on guns and killing. Even his doodles during class were about mass shooting. I never told the school counselors about him. Then I woke up one morning to the news he had murdered people in a mall. I've reported suspected child abuse as required but never the very irrational students. We have a lot of work to do to find the causes and prevention without curtailing personal freedom.

  • CME Cedar City, UT
    Dec. 21, 2012 2:14 p.m.

    one old man - I'm not sure you understand the article because it is in fact saying that there are disclosure laws that REQUIRE some mental health professionals to warn people. The point the author is making is that those laws are obviously not really helping, and in fact might be making it worse.

    As you stated yourself, there have been other shootings where a psychologist was concerned but didn't say anything. Why do you think that is? Possibly they had no real proof that the patient was going to shoot anyone or who exactly they were going to harm. There are a lot of angry people in this world who say crazy things when they are angry. Does that mean psychologists should report every angry threat someone might spew off? If they did I feel like we would be living in a state of mass fear and most of it would be unnecessary.

    I also feel like a psychologist might have been able to talk the shooters out of committing the horrific acts and if they didn't go because they were afraid the psychologist would tell on them, well that's just sad.

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    Dec. 21, 2012 9:07 a.m.

    Before we can have a meaningful conversation on the pros and cons of laws that allow violent threats to be disclosed, we need to not only look at the supposition of how many deaths may have been preventable if there was no possibility of confidentiality, but also at the number of violent acts that were successfully prevented because potential victims and the police were warned ahead of time.

    We would also need to look at how "mentally ill" is being defined and used.

    It is one thing to suppose in a vacuum that 10% of murders might not take place if one specific thing were changed, it is another thing entirely to have that supposition hold up in real life situations.

    There is not enough information presented to support the offered conclusion.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Dec. 21, 2012 9:05 a.m.

    Wait a minute!

    This article is going in exactly the wrong direction. It says that had Adam Lanza sought psychiatric care, he should have been assured that nothing he said would be revealed by his therapist.

    Think about that for a moment. This writer is saying that if a psychologist becomes aware that a client may actually be dangerous and planning a mass attack, that professional must remain silent?

    If anything, disclosure laws need to be set in place that will REQUIRE disclosure under certain circumstances.

    Wasn't one of the causes of at least one mass shooting (was it Virginia Tech?) that even though a psychologist was concerned, those concerns were never passed on?