Tragedy, Mental Illness and What I Can’t Tell You
Updated: Mar 3
Copyright: sumners / 123RF Stock Photo
Tragedy seems to win again this month. Another tragedy brings back the all too familiar fear, hurt, and anger with more unanswered questions about mental illness.
I work on the front lines treating people with mental illness and it hurts to see a senseless crime which could have been prevented.
Tragedy hurts deeply but it doesn’t overcome all the good. Oh, how I wish you could see the good, how people with mental disorders receive treatment for their illness and don’t become dangerous and don’t kill. Even in the midst of tragedy I want you to know the good, to see it for yourself.
But it can’t happen.
The details of good treatment for people with mental illness are private. Completely confidential. Privacy laws prohibit disclosing specific information regarding the enormous good provided and countless tragedies averted. Don’t get me wrong, confidentiality laws are vitally important, but they do limit what the public is able to see of the remarkable good happening in every community.
When tragedy erupts it’s loud, painfully visible and shared in vivid detail. Good treatment of people with mental illness is silently invisible.
It’s easy to assume nothing is private. In the information age plenty of private information is readily available. Recent history is full of secret information getting out, WIKILeaks, sports steroid testing, congressional testimony, just to name a few. Believe it or not, most legally protected information remains in confidence.
Some people with mental illness are dangerous. Well-meaning advocates try to say everyone with a mental illness is harmless, most are, obviously some are not. Trained mental health professionals know the risks and warning signs and respond appropriately to protect both the public and people with dangerous mental illness. Treatment for mental illness is available, accessible, and effective. Professional treatment providers consistently address crisis situations and skillfully assist people in mental illness crisis. Tragedy is being prevented everywhere. When all we see is tragedy and it feels like only pain surrounds us, you must know, good is happening too.
Please share this post or comment if you know the good treatment being provided for people with mental illness.