Four years ago on April 16, a nation mourned the 32 lives that ended in an hours-long rampage on the Virginia Tech campus. Collectively, we agonized over how such a tragedy could have happened. Then, three months ago - after another college-aged youth went on another rampage - we went through the same exercise all over again.
What changed in the interim between these two bloody bookends?
Not much, many would say. Certainly not enough, we believe. Since the Virginia Tech shootings, some states passed laws making it possible to get people like Seung Hui Cho in Virginia and Jared Lee Loughner in Arizona into treatment before they unravel. Virginia re-visited its own law though with questionable effect. We continue to see impressive results in counties coast to coast that have actively implemented assisted outpatient treatment laws, but we find far too few in this category.
Beyond that? State budget cuts are savaging the treatment of the most severely ill, essentially saying they can't afford to take care of the people most likely to deteriorate into violence. In other words, by both omission and commission, state lawmakers continue setting the stage for more tragedy.
In this environment, the Treatment Advocacy Center continues to fight for the elimination of barriers to treatment for severe mental illness. To find out how you can help, click on Get Involved from any page of our website.
In the meantime, we continue to mourn these and all the preventable tragedies that untreated severe mental illness produces. Click here, to learn more about the consequences of untreated severe mental illness.