Psychiatrists are concerned about what is being used. More specifically, they can use the reason for their dedication as a smoke screen, a distraction tactic, and a shiny red ball to distract attention.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott reiterated his fears about mental health at a news conference about the recent massacre of school children in his state.
Former President Donald Trump focused on mental health as part of his speech on Friday as the National Rifle Association (NRA) kicked off its annual conference in Houston.
Gun control? Abbott brushed aside the idea that it would help reduce mass shootings, claiming that 18-year-olds in Texas have had access to long guns for decades.
Instead Abbott spoke of poor mental health: “We as a state and community need to do a better job with mental health.”
Puts a long list of factors that conservative commentators focused on after the school shooting in Wolverhampton – including high school fences; Fewer doors; Armed teachers; Stopping armed veterans in schools; Providing bulletproof blankets; Restoration of Judeo-Christian values; And the general goal of reversing social moral decay.
People who work in mental health are happy to talk about their field and how to do things better. But in the wake of Abbott’s comments, many Expressed restlessness About how it was used to disable the gun control dialog.
A psychiatric adviser to the Texas government says basic comparative statistics undermine the notion that mental illness is a major driver of mass shootings in the United States.
What global comparisons show Many Different Studies There are small differences in the number of mental illnesses between developed countries.
The difference in murder rates is not small: the US ratio Many times more Compared to Canada, it has a higher rate than most developed countries.
“You can’t tell the difference between mental illness and you can not,” said Stephen Strakowski, a psychiatrist and professor at the University of Texas at Austin. Help Redesigned its maintenance-distribution model in several districts of the state of Texas.
“All you do is look at the data. All countries have the same mental illness. They differ in how they manage guns.”
A colleague at the University of Texas shared his own indifference to discussing mental health in an environment that could be used to divert attention from the gun control debate.
“It’s like playing with straw men. I do not think this is our governor’s real concern,” said Sarah Kate Bearman.
“It’s remarkable how fast it was [mental illness is] The gun was used as a victim of violence. There are more individual guns in Texas than in any other state. There are more personal guns in the United States than in any other country. We are unparalleled in gun violence. No mental health issues – just access to guns. “
50th out of 50
That being said, what exactly is Texas doing with regard to mental health care? With some new initiatives for improvement, the state’s long-term record is far worse.
As of 2022, Texas ranks last among the 50 U.S. states in providing mental health services. Study Mental Health America, a mental health consultant is a non-profit.
Last month, Abbott cut $ 210 million for the public sector overseeing mental health.
There was money Redirected What he calls Operation Lone Star: State plan to curb illegal immigration along the Mexico border.
Disorders in the mental health system of Texas were published in a series of investigations The Houston Chronicle Found the organization affected by low staff levels, violent attacks and uninvestigated deaths.
It starts with an elderly couple finding out that their son has died in an unfunded facility and getting information about his death. Another person whose son died after going inside and outside the computer said: “They are running [the mentally ill] Like a veal. “
But there is another side to the story.
Texas has made recent efforts to turn a corner on this front, and Strakowski is part of it in several counties where he is leading an ambitious project.
The government has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on what they call state-of-the-art hospitals. Many Different Cities Provide psychiatric treatment.
Austin has a cafe, gym, art room, outdoor basketball court and sidewalks.
“They have [tried]In fact, “Strakowski said of the state government.
“Texas has made real investments in mental health. I think [Abbott] That being said, it’s really right. அர்த்த Does that mean Texas is at the forefront of mental health care? Absolutely not. “
One of the main reasons Texas ranks last by Mental Health America is the lack of access to care through health insurance.
Texas has a high proportion of uninsured residents Of any state, 18 percent – twice the national average. People with mental illness have an uninsured rate of 21.5 percent in Texas, almost six times the mass rate of 3.8 percent in Massachusetts.
Why its uninsured rate is so low falls directly on the decisions of state politicians, including Abbott.
The extension of medical assistance was rejected
Way The The American health system works briefly Two-thirds of those with insurance receive it from private companies, and one-third receive it through a pair of public programs: one for seniors (Medicare) and one mid-state program (medical assistance) for poor Americans.
But less than 10 percent of Americans have no health care.
Texas is one of the few conservative states to refuse a federal offer to expand health care for low-income people.
The health care reform law signed by then-President Barack Obama extended medical care to more than 133 percent of the population below the poverty line. Here is Washington’s offer: $ 9 per state government for every $ 1 the state pays to expand the Medicare program.
As a result of this expansion of medical aid, known as the Obamacare Acts, 21 million Americans Got health care This year.
About 1.2 million To do 1.4 million Under this law, Texans would have health insurance, including mental health insurance. But 12 states refused to participate – Texas was one of them.
Bearman says there are gaps throughout the mental health system, including staff shortages, waiting lists for care, and in some cases poor quality care and inconsistencies in the way physical and mental health are insured.
“Of course we need better psychiatric treatment,” Bearman said.
But he says the conversation should not yet become part of the national debate on guns.
“Both things can be true,” she said.
“Texas has failed to provide adequate psychological support. In this situation mental illness is a red herring that will only become a talking point when these tragedies emerge, an attempt to divert us from focusing on common sense gun law.”