Mental health professionals respond to mass shooting in Texas
Dr Kara Hwang said that while funding for more mental health assistance is needed, she does not believe it is the answer to prevent the next mass shooting.
INDIANAPOLIS — Last week’s deadly mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, brought lawmakers to the table this week discussing ways to prevent another tragedy like this.
Part of this discussion is about mental health and increasing funding for services to help people with mental illness.
“Our country dramatically, dramatically underfunds mental health,” said Dr. Kara Hwang, a psychiatrist who prescribes medication to people with mental illness.
Hwang said that while funding for more mental health assistance is needed, she doesn’t believe it’s the answer to preventing the next mass shooting.
“The biggest risk for mental illness with anything involving a gun is suicide,” Hwang said.
Hwang also volunteers with Moms Demand Action, a grassroots organization working to reduce gun violence in the United States through tougher gun laws.
“The difference between our country and other countries where this rarely happens is not the difference in mental health, it’s the difference in easy access to guns,” she said.
“We understand that more people or the vast majority who have a mental health problem or disorder are actually victims of violence themselves than the perpetrators,” said Kimble Richardson, a licensed mental health counselor with the Community Health Network. .
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Richardson said any discussion about mental health and the need for more resources is important.
“The ability to talk about it and not feel any stigma or shame, that’s a good thing,” Richardson said.
It is a conversation, however, Hwang said, that while important, is not the answer to ending gun violence.
“People are not going to tell us if they want to kill people or if they want to hurt themselves. Some people will, but most won’t,” Hwang said.
The American Psychiatric Association released a statement today that said, in part:
“It is important to note that the overwhelming majority of people with mental illness are non-violent and are far more likely to be victims of violent crime than perpetrators. A large majority of gun violence is not attributed to mental illness. Rhetoric that argues otherwise will further stigmatize and prevent people from accessing needed treatment without addressing the root causes of gun violence. While there is no single cause for gun violence, individuals can and have been encouraged to act violently through inflammatory public discourse and provocative, hateful, and destructive rhetoric.