Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Dealing with Mental Illnesses

Every time there is a mass shooting, a threat of suicide many people insist that these tragic events are caused by mental illness. If that is so, they could be prevented by psychological treatment.

The answer, they say, is more money to train and treat distressed people.I am not one to discourage more money for my colleagues and me, but what evidence is there for clinical therapists preventing tragic events like mass murders and suicides?

It is also suggested that family and friends can prevent tragedies. Maybe. I hope so. I want it to be true, but it is hard to prove that evil does NOT happen.

I do believe that good therapy and positive family support can prevent violence and bad behavior in many instances. It is foundational to my teaching and books. I wish we could do more equipping as a preventative approach to life. However, we must be careful and refrain from thinking we can control other people, even in our own families.

Bad things do happen to good people. Sickness and evil are real.

We recently saw it up close and personal when young man in our community took his life. He was surrounded by family members and friends who went far beyond the norm, yet he carried out his intent and died. His mother was a strong supporter of his and gathered friends and professionals to intervene. His teenage friends acted with great maturity but he was dedicated to end his life.

We cannot guarantee that we can stop a person from carrying out a deeply committed plan. We can and must try. I have seen breakthroughs in the lives of the deeply depressed but miracles do not always happen.

As a Counselor I spent my life battling depression and hopelessness, but I was not always successful. I have had to face the fact that I am infallible and the world is a messy place. That is why I place my trust in God not myself or other people.

Gary Sweeten
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