(CNN) - So what did I like about today’s show. I have to tell you, I liked everything about today’s show. I thought it was, we all thought this was, as early as Monday, two days after the shooting – we thought doing a show on the state of mental health facilities and the availability of treatment in the U.S. – would be a good show to do. And I loved it. I loved our two experts, our two psychiatrists. I loved that they both had schizophrenic siblings and brought not just brains but heart to the matter to try to explain to us what Tucson was and what it wasn’t. They think it’s a huge failure of the psychiatric community and of mental health policy in the U.S.
I loved Fred Frese who is a psychologist out of Ohio who is himself a diagnosed schizophrenic on medication to kind of give us that ‘what’s it like inside his head.’ Peter Earley – just a heartbreaker of a story I mean that any parent I think can relate to. A (former) Washington Post reporter who’s son is schizophrenic. Doing very well now, in his 30s in a group home. His dad is justifiably proud of what he’s fought through, just talking about the system and how hard it was.
And then two Congress members to wrap it up and say look, you know we’ve got to pay more attention to this. Because it’s not just about, this is a person suffering from some sort of mental illness. This is a person who suffered from a mental illness and affected the lives of hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people. The six he killed, the 14 others who were wounded and all of their families and their friends and the country. And so we thought it was time to look at mental illness and treatments, what’s available. An hour wasn’t nearly long enough, but I really loved the show, I really did. I hope you saw it.
STATE OF THE UNION HIGHLIGHTS
Dr. E. Fuller Torrey, Treatment Advocacy Center, on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“I think the system failed miserably on it. And I think Arizona has among the worst mental health services in the United States. There’s only one state that has fewer public beds and that’s Nevada. So even if someone tried to get treatment for this fellow, it may or may not have succeeded in Arizona, because they have cut many of their outpatient services. This is true all over the United States. There’s not a single state in the United States that I would say people could go to today and are likely to get decent care in the public sector for schizophrenia.”
Dr. Lisa Dixon, University of Maryland School of Medicine, on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“I think that in general we should restrict access to guns. And I do think that giving every – you know – having access to guns overall is a problem.
Crowley: “But did you see this as a gun problem?”
Dixon: “I think that it’s really a problem with mental illness and lack of access, lack of services and lack of engagement. I don’t think that changing the tenor of political dialogue would have really made any difference in this situation.”
Fred Frese, Psychologist, on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“I’m so sad, so sorry, but most of all – now I cannot speak for the while mental health community – but if I could I would want to say we apologize. Because it is our responsibility, it is our duty to take care of these folk. It is not the lawyers. It is not the gun people. It is our responsibility and we have messed up here collectively. We have not – we focus on other things. We need to seriously focus on the rules being changed. He (Jared Lee Loughner) should not have been dropped. He was dropped.”
Pete Earley, former Washington Post reporter on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“When do you intervene? When do you say I’m going to step in and you need treatment? And we’re going to require you to get treatment. Arizona has this dangerous criteria. Arizona has gravely disabled. I’m going to disagree with a lot of the professionals. As a parent, I’ve read everything I could about this case and I’m telling you as a parent I don’t think his parents could have gotten him into any kind of treatment. It is almost impossible to get treatment in this country if you have somebody who wants to get it.”
Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pennsylvania), co-founder, Congressional Mental Health Caucus, on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“Unfortunately, people are going at the low hanging fruit and they’re blaming political discourse, which may have some role in the underlying aspects here. But we also need to look at there will be other things that come out. The music, the video games, the social ways people handle anger. But it goes up to other levels too, in terms of are we acknowledging and appropriately treating mental illness and in a case like this, are there aspects of drug abuse which are the most predictive of violent behavior.”
Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-California), co-founder, Congressional Mental Health Caucus, on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“Unfortunately, it does not hit the radar scope in Washington or almost in any statehouse. And I can tell you I’ve been on this for over 20 some odd years and it’s always something you don’t talk about, you don’t discuss because of the stigma and I think we need to address that heavily.”
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