I posted this link in another thread but thought it deserved its own topic.
With the threat to our rights from Red Flag Laws and the anti firearm biases of many in the mental and physical health care professions I suspect there are more than a few firearm owners reluctant to seek help for any issues they may face. But even the most responsible law abiding firearms owners can have a rough stretch.
I saw an interview on the Firearms and Freedoms video series a couple days ago. I believe it was of the founder of WTTA, Walk The Talk America. His goal, in cooperation with other organizations, is to educate mental health professionals about “firearms culture” and to reach out to firearms owners and let them know help is available if they ever need it. I liked what he had to say and think the goal is an important one. I believe a lot more people in need would seek help if they felt supported instead of vilified.
I think better than half of my patients are also gun owners, and we have some great conversations. Because I’ve developed trusting relationships with these folks, they know and trust I’m looking out for their well-being. Only twice in the last seven years have a asked a patient to lock their guns up and give the key to a spouse or other trusted person. And nobody has ever harmed themselves with a gun.
The only times I would ask someone to render their guns inaccessible is if I feel, in my clinical assessment, they are an immediate danger to themselves or others. As in, “I want to kill myself (or someone else) and I have a plan and I am going to carry it out at a specific time.” Or anything close to that. I would also recommend someone who is actively psychotic or someone with diagnosed dementia to make their firearms inaccessible. We always lean the side of safety.
In any case, yes, there needs to be honest conversations about mental illness in general and, as the FAA did for pilots, give gun owners safe ways to get the help they need while also protecting themselves and those they know and love.
Interesting and maybe helpful in stemming the tide of mass shootings by individuals who have serious (and obvious) mental health issues.
However, I did not see anything on the WTTA web site that encouraged mental health professionals to: (1) regularly check in with patients for whom they have prescribed psychotropic drugs (“How are you feeling and doing with that anti-anxiety Xanax prescription?”) or (2) to actually report individuals to the NCIS if they are suffering from dangerous mental illnesses. Many mass killers are individuals who were well known to their mental health community and were prescribed powerful psychotropic drugs for their illness, but, unfortunately, we live in a “prescribe and forget” mental health system where seriously ill individuals are rarely reported to the NCIS, and thus, can freely acquire firearms.
In some cases, regulated industries have been forced to the left. Politicians (left and right) have suddenly become very interested in telling phsycologists, psychiatrists, and therapists how to do their job. But those on the left have been more successful.
Imagine a know-nothing politician telling a mechanic how to fix your car. You probably wouldn’t stand for that. But politicians do the same thing with medical and mental health professionals, and the public applauds their efforts.