Mental Illness in Society: Can We Both Care and Protect?

Our community is reeling from a tragic incident that occurred last Friday night.   Air Force veteran Derek Henderson, 38, was killed the same night he was supposed to be taken to a VA hospital. Local law enforcement came to a home three times last Friday looking for Derek Henderson. But despite an emergency detention court order, the mentally troubled veteran was never taken into custody.   How often does this story repeat itself? Hundreds? Thousands? Tens of thousands? The system that is supposed to be providing care for those of us with serious mental illness is broken. Who do we blame? Some point the finger of blame at the mentally ill themselves. Why do we let ourselves fall into such a pit?   Henderson served in the Air Force in Afghanistan and was a certified personal trainer. But his family said he suffered a long battle with mental health [...]

Mental Illness in Society: Can We Both Care and Protect?2020-01-12T16:50:29-05:00

Does Mental Illness Lead to Violence?

I don’t follow much mass media, but at times it is impossible to escape. Accounts of the El Paso and Dayton shootings and the Los Angeles stabbings are prime examples. What could possibly motivate persons to such violent extremes? Political leaders, pundits, and partisans toss around various theories. Access to guns? Video games? Mental illness? As one with a mental illness who now serves as a Faith & Mental Health Advocate, the issue is much more than political posturing, it is passionately personal. True, I have witnessed first-hand aggressive behavior stemming from mental illness. Yet, the vast majority of harm is self-directed, not violence against others. Fear-based stigma does no one any good and does many much harm. The Treatment Advocacy Center, one of the leading organizations promoting better mental health care and safety has written in  “Risk Factors for Violence in Serious Mental Illness”, five points:   Most individuals [...]

Does Mental Illness Lead to Violence?2019-08-08T18:05:34-05:00

A Simple, Sacrificial Solution to School Shootings?

Another school shooting. It makes me sick to my stomach. More than this, it eats away at my soul. Lord, have mercy on us. On the children who died and those left behind. On the families of the victims and the family of the shooter. On the school and the community. On our nation: those crying out for limits to weapon access; those advocating for a better mental health care system; those dreadfully perplexed by where the world went wrong and how to right it. If you’ve come here looking for an easy answer, you’ve come to the wrong place. Easy solutions to complex problems are not only misleading, they are dangerous. What is most needful is not easy and even-dimensional. It is damn hard. It requires sacrifice. Sacrifice of our time, our talent, our money. First, it’s about time. We live in a lonely culture, getting lonelier by the [...]

A Simple, Sacrificial Solution to School Shootings?2018-02-17T19:32:27-05:00