Thursday, September 04, 2008

Washington State Tragedy Draws Reactions

The shooting tragedy that left six dead in Skagit County, Wash., has sparked strong reactions from average citizens all the way up to Governor Chris Gregoire, who has ordered a 10-day review of what happened. 

Below is an expert from one of the many blog comments received in response to a story in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.  The Governor’s review panel should take note.

“Most people don't understand mental illness, nor do they care about the mentally ill until something like this horrible tragedy happens. Then everybody gets upset...and talks about how horrible it is and then...nothing happens.

“Unless you have experience with it, you can’t imagine how hellishly frustrating it is to try to get an extremely ill family member into treatment who is convinced that they are not ill. It is simply impossible to scale that wall of delusion without professional help and long term care.

“But the laws leave the people who could help with their hands tied behind their backs. Even if they were allowed to, there is now no place for people who have fallen off their meds to get back on them in a safe and controlled environment, because all but a few of the mental hospitals were shut down years ago, victims of more spending cuts.

“The mental health system here is BROKEN and is being held together with Band-Aids and glue, and thank God by some incredibly caring but overworked, underpaid and understaffed social workers and mental health professionals whose caseloads have gone from maybe 10 in the 70's to up to as many as 75 now. How can anyone be expected to truly track and care for that many ill people?

“It is our mental health system that is really insane.

“My heart goes out the victims’ families, but also... to the family of the shooter...he should have been in treatment, not on the street.”