OPPA comments on shootings in Newtown, Connecticut
December 20, 2012
For Information, contact: Janet Shaw, 614-763-0040
Shootings in Newtown, Connecticut
Statement from Karen Jacobs, DO, President
On behalf of the Ohio Psychiatric Physicians Association and its members, I would like to express our deepest sympathy to the families and friends who lost loved ones in the horrific events that unfolded in last Friday's elementary school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. As a nation, we will continue to grieve as we ask questions about what caused such devastating action by one young man. When tragedies such as this occur, no matter what their nature or cause, it is imperative that national, state and local communities come together to find out what went wrong and to take steps to ensure it does not happen again.
There has been much talk in the media about the need for better gun control, increased security in schools and improvements to our nation's mental health system. While we don't yet know the details about the motives or mental status of last week's perpetrator, we have seen enough of these kinds of unfathomable mass-shootings to admit that something has gone wrong in our society. There is no doubt that there are improvements that can and should be made to our mental health services.
It is important to remember that not everyone who has a mental illness is violent. In fact, there are a very small number of individuals among the mentally ill who are truly dangerous. To assume that anyone who is diagnosed with a mental illness is dangerous will not help anyone. In fact, to do so would only add to the stigma that continues to exist. Such stigmas keep people from seeking much needed treatment. Mental illness is a disorder. With proper treatment, a person with a mental disorder can lead a healthy and productive life.
As an association that is dedicated to promoting the highest quality care for people with mental disorders, we will continue to staunchly advocate for much needed improvements in our mental health system. We are deeply saddened by the senseless act of violence that has taken so many innocent lives and affected so many more.
The Ohio Psychiatric Physicians Association is a statewide medical specialty society whose physician members specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and research of mental illnesses including substance use disorders. The OPPA is a district branch of the American Psychiatric Association, which represents more than 34,000 members nationally. Visit the OPPA at www.ohiopsychiatry.org.