Saturday, May 05, 2007

Mental Health in the Virginia Tech Shooting

Much of what's been written about the Virginia Tech shooting has concerned the mental health of the shooter, Cho Seung-Hui and how the university might have done a better job detecting his illness and diffusing the massacre. What's lost when we upbraid the mental health treatment infrastructure is simply how hard it is to determine the inner thoughts of people. Sure, Cho should have received more treatment for his illness, but it would be unfortunate and counter-productive if the Virginia Tech massacre leads to increased suspicion by college campus authorities of anyone with a mental illness. As a recent Slate article put it:
[W]hat's more important is that thousands of students attend college who struggle with depression and other mental illnesses, and almost all of them hurt no one and deserve to stay there. Identifying the Cho-type exceptions before they explode is a matter of good campus police work and counseling, not harsh, interventionist crackdowns.

This is an argument for increased empahsis on gun control efforts, in my view. Controlling the supply of guns is much more straight-forward than trying to predict whether bio-chemical imbalances will lead one to commit violent acts. Even in this day and age, none of us can read another person's mind. It would be a shame if school authorities overreacted--thereby creating an even greater stigma around mental illness--while trying.

2 comments:

concerned heart said...

There is another matter that would be helpful to address at this point and that is exactly what causes the derangement like Seung-hui Cho's and how to prevent it in other children/adults. A biochemical imbalance is not the root cause indeed. If you are interested in this important matter read on and I apologize for it being a great deal to read and absorb. Thoroughtly reading through one blog is enough. There are a few single articles of importance for those without the time or interest to read through an entire blog.

http://ageofthefatherandhealthoffuture.blogspot.com/

http://how-old-is-too-old.blogspot.com/

http://themalebiologicalclock.blogspot.com/

http://autism-prevention.blogspot.com/

http://www.schizophreniaforum.org/for/curr/Malaspina/default.asp

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/10/021018080014.htm

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/11/021126201311.htm

jayalakshmi said...

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