More mental health services needed

By Octavia Stewart

Lately there have been multiple articles related to mental illness. There has been a story about a man committing suicide in his jail cell by hanging himself with his pants after being arrested for DUI.

There was the nationally reported incident at Virginia Tech and the multiple personal issues of the shooter.

Recently there was a ruling of suicides committed by two elderly women, which has been reclassified and is now being reviewed for lack of evidence. The problem with all of these is that there seems to be a crack in the system.

There seems to be no concrete way to make sure facilities, whether they are police stations, mental health centers, etc. follow the same protocol to truly assess individuals that have problems whether they are noticeable or not.

Somehow there needs to be a change in the policy to better determine what is dangerous and what is not, and to require more follow up for treatment to prevent things like the Virginia Tech shootings.

There should be more training for individuals whether in the mental health field or not in order to prevent horrible incidents from occurring.

Had the employees at the police station known what to look for in people who may be depressed, who may cause harm to themselves, or have some other mental problem going on then maybe the man would not have had the opportunity to hang himself in the jail cell.

And maybe if the facility that initially reported the Virginia Tech shooter had taken the problems that were displayed more seriously instead of simply saying he did not meet enough of the criteria then maybe he would be getting treatment and a whole lot of people would still be alive.

Octavia Stewart

graduate student