Mass shootings are becoming all too popular and the controversy is spreading about gun access and mental health. As a mental health counselor I do not believe either guns or mental illness are solely to blame. We should be focused on access to mental health and preventative services.
Many outpatient therapy clients are not experiencing a mental health crisis and are not likely to go on a mass shooting spree. However, metal health access to all is crucial for preventative treatment and catching early signs of a mental health crisis. As psychologists we are trained to ask questions, make observations and to help prevent potential tragedies. What can we help prevent if our potential clients do not have access to our services?
The problem arises with access to mental health therapy and insurance companies who monopolize the price of health insurance. Thus making effective practitioners scarce and making treatment ineffective for some clients. These clients who have limited or no access of practitioners are most in danger of experiencing a crisis and not having any help through their downfall.
As a nation we have to come together and realize that the problem with guns and violence is much more than just the person pulling the trigger. The responsibility begins with access to preventative mental health care. The solution is not simple but we have to find a way to unite and promote affordable mental health care for everyone.