If you have been listening to any media outlets within the past couple of days, then you are very much aware of the debate issues surrounding President Obama’s news conference about gun safety.
Personally, I understand the argument of both sides.
Regardless of your stance, this post is to inform you what the new executive actions on gun violence means to the mental health community.
Before I go any further, I feel the need to make this disclaimer:
No one is exempt from having a temporary or long term mental illness.
Everyone can take preventative measures to help maintain a healthy mind.
When a mental illness goes untreated it can cause severe harm. Unfortunately, suicide is the worst case scenario. In the United States, firearms are by far the most common method of suicide. According to death certificate data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of all suicides were completed with a firearm in 2014.
“During his remarks, the President acknowledged that the majority of gun-related deaths in the U.S. are suicides, and underscored the importance of encouraging help-seeking for persons suffering from mental health conditions”. – AFSP
It goes without saying that gun safety is a positive for those suffering from a mental illness.
To mental health care, President Obama’s recent executive decisions means this:
• Increased access to and funding for mental health treatment: The President is proposing a new $500 million investment to help engage individuals with serious mental illness in care, improve access to care by increasing service capacity and the behavioral health workforce, and ensure that behavioral health care systems work for everyone. This effort would increase access to mental health services to protect the health of children and communities, prevent suicide, and promote mental health as a top priority. Congress will have to approve this recommendation.
• Investments in gun safety research: The President has directed the Departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security to conduct or sponsor research into gun safety technology. Making guns safer and reducing the opportunities for people to use guns to attempt suicide has significant life-saving potential.
Advocacy for gun safety compliments mental health advocacy. It is my ongoing mission to be a voice for the silent. The silent killer called suicide. I don’t debate on this stance. No one can debate or change the fact that my 15 year old brother committed suicide and his method was a firearm.
Updates on gun safety, along with other mental health policy related issues, will be posted under the page “Advocacy”.