Gun control is a topic which has become highly politicized. Mental health is an issue that many people do not understand. The correlation between these two issues is one that many do not see. Shootings have been on the rise and no one can come up with a good reason why. That is where these two seemingly different issues become something that has more in common than most can see. For gun related violence, and violence in general, what is a good method of dealing with these issues and saving lives? Mental health care improvement or gun control?
To get a better idea of the two different options and what they may look like, one has to look at the history. The history provides a basis for what has happened with this particular issue in the past and how that might relate to the issue in the future.
Mental illness plagues one out of four American citizens. Mental illness varies greatly from person to person. The spectrum of mental illness includes many illnesses including, depression and anxiety as well as some more serious illnesses such as down syndrome. All mental illness plays a role in how this person is going to function in society. These individuals have unique needs and individual strengths that need evaluated for proper care.
The early history of mental illness is bleak. The belief that anyone with a mental illness was possessed by a demon or the family was being given a spiritual punishment was the reason behind the horrific treatment of those with mental illness. These individuals were placed into institutions that were unhygienic and typically were kept in dark, cave like rooms away from people in the outside world. The institutions were not only dark and gross; they also used inhumane forms of treatment on their patients. Kimberly Leupo, discusses some of the practices that were used, these included may types of electro shocks, submitting patients to ice bath, as well as many other horrific events (Leupo). Lobotomies, which are surgical procedures that cut and scrape different connections in the brain, were very common practice. They were thought to help cure mental illness, but often ended up causing more damage than good.
Dorthea Dix, a well-known name in the psychology field, was a major contributor to improving the quality of life for those that were in institutions. She was a volunteer at a hospital during the civil war and realized the horrendous treatment to the patients.
The realization that people did better when they were in their own environment, as opposed to a mental institution was a major turning point in the treatment of the mentally ill. This was the time of deinstitutionalization, realizing that individuals would thrive outside of the institution. An article in the Washington Post gives the shocking statistics "The number of Americans with intellectual disabilities who live in large state institutions declined by 85 percent between 1965 and 2009"(Pollack). By putting mentally ill individuals...