By Tanya Ruckstuhl-Valenti LICSW, MSW
In the wake of last week’s school shooting in Connecticut all of us in the mental health profession have had to deal with our own as well as our clients shock and terror.
Three big questions come to mind for me:
- The question of individual liberty versus collective rights: what right does society have to compel mentally ill people to receive treatment, even against their will?
- What about gun control and the possibility of an amendment to the second amendment (the right to bear arms), which was created prior to the event of an organized and nationwide legal system of police, courts, and prisons?
- How do we as a society lower the shame and stigma connected to mental illness? If people were not ashamed of their family members’ or their own mental health struggles, more people would get help.
Years ago I read an interview with a concentration camp survivor, who was asked,
“How did you keep your faith in humanity in the face of all the brutality?”
“I saved myself,” he said, “by focusing instead on the kindness we showed one another.”
There has been an incredible outpouring of love and support from all over the nation flowing towards the families that have been affected by this tragedy. It is vital that we keep a sense of context in mind: there are many more good people in this world than bad. To quote a great t-shirt “Love Wins.”
- Bipartisan Mothers’ Call to Action After Connecticut School Shooting: An Open Letter to American Leadership Voices (momsleadershipvoice.org)
- Mental Illness and Murder… and stuff (thesynergisticpen.com)