Mental Health Law and Violence

October 8, 2015

The new law submitted by members of the U.S. Senate, if passed, will not help those who need mental health care most — the potentially violent. The mass murderers we read about are young men, not the elderly and disabled.
The bill submitted by Senators Stabenow,Mikulski and Lee applies to Medicare recipients only. It would increase the amount of payments to social workers for counseling and other mental health services, including services provided in skilled nursing facilities. That’s great for the elderly.
What kinds of laws might help prevent violence? Laws that most liberals would oppose. We need to expand and increase social control over people who show a tendency to violence. Yes, this means locking them up in mental hospitals and making so-called “mandatory” treatments compulsory. At this time, mental health professionals have the deck stacked against them when they attempt to curtail peoples’ civil rights — even for the purpose of saving lives! Weak and ineffective laws restrict the provision of care. As a social worker and author, I feature these dilemmas in my thriller novels from the provider’s perspective, as well as the client’s point of view. It’s an effort to educate the general public in a way that may lead to change.

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