Mental illnesses – again

More information on the events leading up Santa Barbara killing spree by misogynistic mentally ill college student. We need as much information about this killer as possible and how he fell through the cracks. We need to demand changes – treatment for the mentally ill – not jails to warehouse mental patients. At the bottom you’ll find the link to a book by the sibling of a mentally ill man who was in and out of mental hospitals in California. The history of this individual flows along the failure of California’s mental hospitals and mistreatment of the mentally ill. Change a few details and the gender of the subject of the book and this could be my sister or any of thousands of mentally ill.

Evidently when two police officers made a “wellness” check on the guy who would turn out to be in fact mentally ill – the video with this killers ranting was on YouTube but these cops, who were not mental health professional, made a major judgement error. California was one of the first states to empty out the mental hospitals. Thank you Governor Raygun! NOT! There were major problems in mental hospitals – and some patients are unable to function outside of a mental hospital. But what the hell just close the hospitals – make no effort to deal will thousands of mental patients suddenly thrust into non existent “community mental health” programs. Now we have thousands of homeless who are in need of treatment for mental illnesses – and these people generally end up in the prison system.

Cops are not trained mental health professionals – they lack the education and basic skills needed to work  with people who are mentally ill. There are specific personality traits which are necessary to work with mental patients. For instance in theory a competent mental health professional should have been able to spot some of the lies (perhaps things like being too polite or evasive etc.)

As the mass murderer of Santa Barbara demonstrated he was both mentally ill but also able to fool two cops into believing he was just fine – he only needed to call home. What are parents to do when they know their child might do something really horrible? And yet even when the call the cops these untrained non mental health professionals walk away. Cops in most states and counties are apparently the gate keeper for mental illnesses hospitalization for observation etc.

We all have a stake in how mental illness is recognized (or not) and treated (or not). How many more people will die before changes to laws and access to care for the mentally ill? This would include the huge percentage of people with mental illness but they have no self awareness that they are ill. Most people would realize that voices in your head telling you to do things is not normal. Yet about 25% of schizophrenics really think hearing voices in their heads is normal. Right now we don’t know what the Santa Barbara killer’s diagnosis was.  The father of one of the victims is speaking out loudly.


Recommended Book:

My Brother Ron: A Personal History and Social History of the Deinstitionalization of the Mentally ill.
By Clayton E. Cramer.

Observations of online remarks by Santa Barbara killer’s buddies are really not surprising. Hate is learned behavior – even for the mentally ill.


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