Not much of an upgrade, is it — going from the “back of the bus” to beneath it? This past year, in headline after headline, that’s exactly where people with mental illness have found themselves. We need to decide how we’re going to treat them, because we can’t have it both ways.
On the medical side, we take great pains to normalize mental illness. We want people to treat it like pneumonia, heart disease, or any other disorder: no shame and no stigma.
And then some idiot levels his gun at a crowd of innocents, and all that goes out the window. How can we hope to achieve that goal when we present mental illness as the catch-all explanation for every monstrous act of violence we see splashed across the news?
Does this sound familiar? “How could anyone do such a thing? What, he’s got a mental illness? Well, that explains it.”
The full version of this column is now only available in Doug Giles’ book, “Sandy Hook Massacre: When Seconds Count, The Police Are Minutes Away”.