After his arrest for the movie theater murders in Aurora, Colorado, a number of James Holmes fangirls showed up on the internet, mostly Tumblr, because…well…it’s Tumblr. Having dealt with a murder groupie or two in my time I wrote about the self-proclaimed ‘Holmies’ here.
With his recent conviction this article from Slate by Amanda Hess revisits with the Holmies to see if their attitude has changed towards their mass-murdering heartthrob. Surprisingly it has but not necessarily for the better. A number of them now see him as some sort of martyr for mental illness in this country. As someone who suffers from depression and anxiety on a daily basis let me make it clear that in no way, shape or form should this assclown be used as the poster boy for mental illnesses. To do so would be wrong for a number of different reasons.
First to portray him as some sort of sympathetic figure is akin to excusing him for the brutal murders of 12 innocent people. Secondly, there’s enough of a stigma against mental illnesses already that this would make people think that anyone with even the slightest psychological defect is a potential mass murderer. Lastly and most importantly it would further discourage people suffering from a mental illness from seeking treatment lest they be thought a danger to those around them.
If you want to make anyone the spokesperson for mental illness and treatment make it the person who suffers in silence since no one around them can understand how they’re feeling and who receive advice like “Have you tried not being depressed?” by people who don’t know any better.
Jeff Temple is a psychologist and a professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. He’s also a columnist for the Houston Chronicle. Recently he wrote a column with the headline of “Don’t be so quick to blame mental illness in shootings.” He says that we shouldn’t mistake correlation for causation. He also says that the majority of people with mental illness are non-violent and rather blames things like what he calls unfettered access to weapons, racism and hate, and misogyny.
In my opinion rational people, like myself, are not saying that mental health is the cause of mass shootings however as someone who suffers from a mental illness what we’re saying is that mental healthcare needs to be less stigmatized and more readily available. I also argue that there needs to be discussion on when the safety of the public outweighs the privacy of the mentally ill. Also , I agree with Dr. Temple that most people with mental illness are not violent however the ones that are show a very intense violent nature.
Adam Lanza was said to have been schizophrenic. NIU gunman Stephen Kazmierczak had a history of psychotic episodes and hallucinations. Cho Seung-Hui, was court ordered to receive mental health treatment but never went. Most recently Seattle Pacific University gunman Aaron Ybarra not only went off his meds but also had at least three psychotic episodes involving police or the ER but was not detained because his mother refused to have him committed.
While they’re may have been other extenuating circumstances you can not say that mental illness did not have a part in a lot of mass shootings.
I’m not saying that everyone with a mental illness is a potential killer however as I previously said mental healthcare needs to be less stigmatized so people won’t feel ashamed about getting help but we also need to discern when involuntary commitment is best before someone becomes a potential danger like the gunmen listed above.
Most Teen Psychiatric Disorders Go Untreated:
In a study done by Duke University it was estimated that most teens that have mental illnesses suffer without ever having them treated. I’m not talking about ADD either…
Adolescents with ADHD, conduct disorder or oppositional defiant disorder received mental health care more than 70 percent of the time. By contrast, teens suffering from phobias or anxiety disorders were the least likely to be treated. Results also varied greatly by race, with black youths significantly less likely to be treated for mental disorders than white youths.
So it’s acceptable if your kid is suffering from ADD but if he or she suffers from anxiety or depression apparently it’s taboo to get them help.
If you want to prevent teen suicides and acts of violence get them help if they need it. It’s not a phase, it’s real.