Thoughts and opinion from the wards
An ordinary mother speaks
In 1999 I was lucky enough to be given the chance to do a sabbatical studying the provision of primary care in rural areas which allowed me to spend a number of weeks in New Mexico. I was pondering the issue of gun violence in the US with one of the local Directors of Public Health there at the time and we came to similar conclusions:
(1) that the liberal US gun laws are part of the problem is a no brainer
(2) but the issue was more comlicated than simply banning guns (though obvioulsy fewer guns would mean fewer opportunities to use guns)
(3) one of the major issues then (which, of course, may no longer be the case) was the very poor provision in the US of primary preventive mental health services. When I outlined to my US colleague the system that opertaes in my remote community he said they had nothing similar to offer.
In my remote community we have 5 community psychiatric nurses, including 3 with addictions training and one with special role for dementia; we have social work mental health officers; we have educational and clinical psychology services all locally based; and we have a visting team of psychiatrists (Consultant and Specialist Registrar) who visit every 3 weeks to hold clinics locally.
In my time I have seen several young men who could have gone on, without intervention, to have caused havoc and I wouldn't have been surprised if one or more had gone on to kill. But they didn't because they were identified, subjected to intervention and continually supported from the day it became evident there was a problem.
Perhaps this is an issue in the US even today. And I am not the only one who thinks that. I would strongly urge you all to read the following article written by a mother in the wake of the terrible events in Newtown:
We need to hear such voices at this time.