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Gun Laws and Persons with Mental Illness

Never has this topic been in the news so much. On Friday, June 7th, John Zawahri, 23, went on a shooting rampage killing five starting with two members of his own family and three more near or on the campus of Santa Monica College. Zawahri's life was taken in the end by police. It was reported that he may have suffered mental health issues and was even hospitalized. This is only the most recent of many similar tragic events. So this raises the question, should those with mental illness who have been involuntarily committed to a mental institution have their names reported to the National Instant Background Check System for the sole purpose of buying a gun? It's a hot topic and Governor Haley has recently signed a law that does just this as have the majority of other states.

Richland Library has multiple books on these subject areas. There are links below for databases with recent articles on these tragic events and up-to-date information on mental illness.


Amazon Says: The world watched in horror in April 2007 when Virginia Tech student Seung-Hui Cho went on a killing rampage that resulted in the deaths of thirty-two students and faculty mem more...
Amazon Says: The world watched in horror in April 2007 when Virginia Tech student Seung-Hui Cho went on a killing rampage that resulted in the deaths of thirty-two students and faculty members before he ended his own life. Former Virginia Tech English department chair and distinguished professor Lucinda Roy saw the tragedy unfold on the TV screen in her home and had a terrible realization. Cho was the student she had struggled to get to know–the loner who found speech torturous. After he had been formally asked to leave a poetry class in which he had shared incendiary work that seemed directed at his classmates and teacher, Roy began the difficult task of working one-on-one with him in a poetry tutorial. During those months, a year and a half before the massacre, Roy came to realize that Cho was more than just a disgruntled young adult experimenting with poetic license; he was, in her opinion, seriously depressed and in urgent need of intervention. But when Roy approached campus counseling as well as others in the university about Cho, she was repeatedly told that they could not intervene unless a student sought counseling voluntarily. Eventually, Roy’s efforts to persuade Cho to seek help worked. Unbelievably, on the three occasions he contacted the counseling center staff, he did not receive a comprehensive evaluation by them–a startling discovery Roy learned about after Cho’s death. More revelations were to follow. After responding to questions from the media and handing over information to law enforcement as instructed by Virginia Tech, Roy was shunned by the administration. Papers documenting Cho’s interactions with campus counseling were lost. The university was suddenly on the defensive. Was the university, in fact, partially responsible for the tragedy because of the bureaucratic red tape involved in obtaining assistance for students with mental illness, or was it just, like many colleges, woefully underfunded and therefore underequipped to respond to such cases? Who was Seung-Hui Cho? Was he fully protected under the constitutional right to freedom of speech, or did his writing and behavior present serious potential threats that should have resulted in immediate intervention? How can we balance students’ individual freedom with the need to protect the community? These are the questions that have haunted Roy since that terrible day. No Right to Remain Silent is one teacher’s cri de coeur–her dire warning that given the same situation today, two years later, the ending would be no less terrifying and no less tragic. less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: Ten years after the school massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado, school shootings are a new and alarming epidemic. While sociologists have attributed the trigger more...
Amazon Says: Ten years after the school massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado, school shootings are a new and alarming epidemic. While sociologists have attributed the trigger of violence to peer pressure, such as bullying and social isolation, prominent psychologist Peter Langman, argues here that psychological causes are responsible. Drawing on 20 years of clinical experience, Langman offers surprising reasons for why some teens become violent. Langman divides shooters into three categories, and he discusses the role of personality, trauma, and psychosis among school shooters. From examining the material evidence of notorious school shooters at Columbine and Virginia Tech to addressing the mental states of the violent youths he treats, Langman shows how to identify early signs of homicide-prone youth and what preventive measures educators, parents and communities can take to protect themselves from the tragedy. less...
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Amazon Says: From the review of A LETHAL INHERITANCE by Dean MacKinnon, MD of Johns Hopkins Medical School:  "In journalistic reviews of the scientific literature I always look out more...
Amazon Says: From the review of A LETHAL INHERITANCE by Dean MacKinnon, MD of Johns Hopkins Medical School:  "In journalistic reviews of the scientific literature I always look out for the odd bit of pseudoscience or pop psychology that might undermine one's confidence in the author's understanding of the topic. Happily, I find that Ms. Costello's science and medical reporting, on topics both biological and clinical, is quite sound. Indeed, she not only avoids bad science, but she also avoids gushing overenthusiastically about the trendiest, most evanescent discoveries. I was consistently impressed with her scholarship and her way of making sense of science without resorting to jargon. She even goes the extra mile--late in the book she enrolls in a study on psychobiological markers of schizophrenia and describes the research process from the inside out." From the book foreword by Terrie Moffitt, PhD Professor of Neuroscience, Kings College London, Institute of Psychiatry, and Duke University Every family has secrets; only some secrets are lethal. In Victoria Costello's family mental illness had been given many names over at least four generations until this inherited conspiracy of silence finally endangered the youngest members of the family, her children. In this riveting story--part memoir, detective story, and scientific investigation--in the tradition of the story of Henrietta Lacks, Costello recounts how the mental unraveling of her seventeen-year-old son Alex compelled her to look back into family history for clues to his condition. Eventually she tied Alex's descent into hallucinations and months of shoeless wandering on the streets of Los Angeles to his great grandfather's suicide on a New York City railroad track in 1913. But this insight brought no quick relief. Within two years of Alex's diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia, both she and her youngest son succumbed to two different mental disorders: major depression and anxiety disorder. Costello depicts her struggle to get the best possible mental health care for her sons and herself, treatment that ultimately brings each of them to full recovery. In the process, she discovers startling new neuroscience and genetic findings that explain how clusters of mental illness traverse family generations. The author closes by translating what she's learned into a set of ground rules for "New, New Parenting," advice to help individuals and families recover from addictions and mental disorders, and prevent their return in future generations. Writing for Booklist, Donna Chavez says about A Lethal Inheritance: "Science journalist Costello's educative memoir gives poignant testimony to the fact that not only do we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us; we carry their burdens as well. At the point where it was almost too late to intervene in her eldest son's mental deterioration, Costello embarked on a journey backward in time that moved her and both of her sons forward into a brighter future. ...The story Costello share is a twofer. It is a cautionary tale about the price families pay for keeping mental illness secret. It is also a road map for identifying risk factors for and recognizing early signs of psychiatric issues, the better to preempt advanced disease." To see the Book Trailer for A Lethal Inheritance, go to:  youtube.com/watch?v=naB8JzT9hQU less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: Expert advice from the medical director of the country’s largest state mental health system and the mental health editor of The Huffington Post. More than fifty million pe more...
Amazon Says: Expert advice from the medical director of the country’s largest state mental health system and the mental health editor of The Huffington Post. More than fifty million people a year are diagnosed with some form of mental illness. It spares no sex, race, age, ethnicity, or income level. And left untreated, mental disorders can devastate our families and communities. Family members and friends are often the first to realize when someone has a problem, but it is hard to know how to help or where to turn. Our mental health “system” can feel like a bewildering and frustrating maze. How can you tell that someone has a mental illness? What are the first and best steps for you to take? Where do you go to find the right care?  The Family Guide to Mental Health Care is the first comprehensive print resource for the millions of people who have loved ones suffering from some kind of mental illness. In this book, families can find the answers to their most urgent questions. What medications are helpful and are some as dangerous as I think? Is there a way to navigate privacy laws so I can discuss my adult daughter’s treatment with her doctor? Is my teenager experiencing typical adolescent distress or an illness? From understanding depression, bipolar illness and anxiety to eating and traumatic disorders, schizophrenia, and much more, readers will learn what to do and how to help. Real-life scenarios and authoritative information are written in a compassionate, reader-friendly way, including checklists to bring to a doctor’s appointment so you can ask the right questions. For readers who fear they will never see the light at the end of the tunnel, this book gives hope and a path forward. As one of the nation’s leading voices on quality care in mental health, Dr. Lloyd Sederer has played a singular role in advancing services for those with mental illness. Now, the wealth of his expertise and clear guidance is at your disposal. From the first signs of a problem to sorting through the variety of treatment options, you and your family will be able to walk into a doctor’s office know what to do and what to ask. less...
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Amazon Says: The Surgeon General has identified children's mental illness as a national problem that creates a burden of suffering so serious as to be considered a health crisis. Yet, what more...
Amazon Says: The Surgeon General has identified children's mental illness as a national problem that creates a burden of suffering so serious as to be considered a health crisis. Yet, what it means to be the parent of a mentally ill child has not been adequately considered—until now. Parenting Mentally Ill Children: Faith, Caring, Support, and Survival captures the essence of caring for these youngsters, providing resources and understanding for parents and an instructive lesson for society.Author Craig Winston LeCroy uses in-depth interviews to chronicle the experiences of parents of mentally ill children as they attempt to survive each day, obtain needed help, and reach out for support, and he lets them share their misunderstood emotions of shame, anger, fear, guilt, and powerlessness in the face of stigma from professionals, family, and friends. The book concludes with a critical appraisal of the social policies that must be implemented to help—and the reasons we should feel obligated to initiate them. less...
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Amazon Says: Newtown, Connecticut. Aurora, Colorado. Both have entered our collective memory as sites of unimaginable heartbreak and mass slaughter perpetrated by lone gunmen. Meanwhile, c more...
Amazon Says: Newtown, Connecticut. Aurora, Colorado. Both have entered our collective memory as sites of unimaginable heartbreak and mass slaughter perpetrated by lone gunmen. Meanwhile, cities such as Chicago and Washington, D.C., are dealing with the painful, everyday reality of record rates of gun-related deaths. By any account, gun violence in the United States has reached epidemic proportions. A widely respected activist and policy analyst—as well as a former gun enthusiast and an ex-member of the National Rifle Association—Tom Diaz presents a chilling, up-to-date survey of the changed landscape of gun manufacturing and marketing. The Last Gun explores how the gun industry and the nature of gun violence have changed, including the disturbing rise in military-grade gun models. But Diaz also argues that the once formidable gun lobby has become a "paper tiger," marshaling a range of evidence and case studies to make the case that now is the time for a renewed political effort to attack gun violence at its source—the guns themselves. In the aftermath of Newtown, a challenging national conversation lies ahead. The Last Gun is an indispensable guide to this debate, and essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how we can finally rid America’s streets, schools, and homes of gun violence and prevent future Newtowns. less...
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  • NAMI Mid-Carolina
    NAMI Mid-Carolina works to improve the treatment and quality of life for people who live with mental illnesses, their families, and the community through education, support and advocacy.
  • Mental Health America
    Mental Illness and the Family: Recognizing Warning Signs and How to Cope
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